Sie sind auf Seite 1von 75

Transport Committee

Parking enforcement in London


Investigation into parking controls and their enforcement in London
June 2005
Transport Committee

Parking enforcement in London


Investigation into parking controls and their enforcement in London
June 2005
copyright
Greater London Authority
June 2005

Published by
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA
www.london.gov.uk
enquiries 020 7983 4100
minicom 020 7983 4458

ISBN 1 85261 745 4

This publication is printed on recycled paper


Contents
Page
Committee membership 4
Terms of reference 5
Chair’s foreword 7
Executive summary 9

1 Introduction 13
2 Background to the development of parking enforcement in London 15
3 The current system 17
4 Public concerns 25
5 Impacts on business 42
6 Other road users 48
7 Parking attendants 51
8 Conclusions 58

List of recommendations 60

Appendices
1 PCN contravention codes 63
2 PCN volumes by borough 65
3 Removal and clamp data 66
4 Parking account data 67
5 PCN appeal rates by borough 68
6 Evidentiary hearings and written evidence 69
7 Orders and translations 71

3
Membership of the Transport Committee for the
parking enforcement meetings

Lynne Featherstone - Chair (Liberal Democrat)

Roger Evans - Deputy Chair (Conservative)

John Biggs - Labour

Angie Bray - Conservative

Elizabeth Howlett - Conservative

Peter Hulme Cross - Veritas-UKIP

Darren Johnson - Green

Murad Qureshi - Labour

Graham Tope - Liberal Democrat

The Transport Committee’s general terms of reference are to examine and report on
transport matters of importance to Greater London and the transport strategies, policies
and actions of the Mayor, Transport for London, and the other Functional Bodies where
appropriate. In particular, the Transport Committee is also required to examine and
report to the Assembly from time to time on the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, in
particular its implementation and revision.

Contact for this report:

Paul Watling, Scrutiny Manager

paul.watling@london.gov.uk

020 7983 4393

4
Terms of reference
To investigate the enforcement of parking regulations in London including:
x The recent development of parking and enforcement policies, including the reasons
for decriminalisation of enforcement;
x The legislative background for parking and enforcement policies, including
regulations, signing and financial issues;
x The basis for parking regulations including enforcement on the street, numbers of
penalty charge notices issued, numbers of vehicles clamped and removed, and
directions given to parking attendants;
x Procedures for dealing with challenges to and appeals against parking penalties;
x The effectiveness of the enforcement of parking regulations, including the different
approaches of borough parking enforcement and red route enforcement by TfL;
x The use of private contractors for parking enforcement and the conditions of their
appointment;
x Issues surrounding the safety and security of parking attendants;
x Evidence of common standards and procedures between boroughs and moves to
establish good practice;
x Issues surrounding the co-operation between the different agencies involved in
aspects of parking enforcement;
x Views of road users on the enforcement of parking regulations in London.

5
6
Chair’s Foreword

There is nothing like coming back to your car and finding an


‘unfair’ parking ticket to raise not only our blood pressure,
but also our innate sense of fair play. But what is ‘fair’?

In a city which has too many cars to move around or park


without associated rules, we accept restrictions and penalties
– so long as their purpose is to alleviate traffic problems and
not to raise revenue.

Over recent years, with an steep increase in the number of


Penalty Charge Notices issued – there has been a fair bit of
squealing going on – both from motorists and in the media.

Justified or not? That is what the London Assembly set out to investigate in this
scrutiny into parking enforcement in London.

Several Local Authorities and the Association of London Government were concerned
that such a spotlight might trigger unwarranted attacks from residents and the media
on them for their parking policies. However, this investigation seeks not to point the
finger at any individual authority – that is a matter for local focus, local investigation
and local elections.

This London Assembly investigation seeks to question and highlight those areas where
the public believe difficulties lie and suggest common sense ways forward to alleviate
the seeming growing tensions between restriction and compliance.

With such a ‘hot’ topic, there have been a variety of views expressed to the Assembly on
this issue – many very strong views – but on both sides. Our report seeks to reflect the
evidence, both written and verbal, in our findings and recommendations. And whilst
this report will not resolve those tensions overnight, our aspiration is that it will begin
the process.

Finally I would like to thank all those hundreds of members of the public and other
organisations who contributed their time and views to this investigation.

Lynne Featherstone
Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee for the parking enforcement
investigation

7
8
Executive summary

1. Parking controls and the enforcement system were originally designed to serve
the objectives of ensuring road safety and maintaining the free flow of traffic on
London’s streets. As the number of cars and other vehicles in London have
grown, additional controls have been introduced to manage kerb space where
demand for parking exceeds supply.

2. The 1991 Road Traffic Act decriminalised parking enforcement, passing


responsibility for this from the Metropolitan and City police forces to the
London boroughs. The Act paved the way for a widespread change in the
approach to parking enforcement as Local Authority Parking Attendants were
created and empowered to issue penalty charge notices and to authorise
vehicles to be clamped or removed.

3. By 2003/04 nearly six million penalty charge notices were issued in London
bringing in an income of some £300 million pounds for boroughs who, after
expenditure, made surpluses of more than £113 million pounds for their parking
accounts.

4. The transition from the relatively benign police enforcement to the much more
efficient enforcement by or on behalf of London boroughs has been predictably
controversial and even confrontational, as both motorists and the London
boroughs embarked on a steep learning curve.

5. Generally there is public support for parking enforcement, and the Committee
accepts the need for those controls which are vital to London’s economic and
social well being. But there is growing diversity of opinion about whether the
current system is either too lenient, or too harsh. In essence, people are asking,
is it fair? Has the right balance been arrived at between the need for these
controls and, at the same time, ensuring that the process is operating both fairly
and effectively?

6. Of all the responses received by the Assembly to this investigation from


members of the public, businesses and other organisations, the issues of
revenue raising, proportionality and discretion consistently appear to raise the
most concern. Other issues surround problems with signage, the complexity of
regulations operating in London and difficulties of dealing with the challenge
and appeal process.

Revenue Raising
7. There is undoubtedly for many Londoners a suspicion that the nature of parking
enforcement contracts, the number of tickets being issued as well as the
instances of improperly issued tickets – whatever the magnitude – represent
parking enforcement being used as revenue raising.

8. The Committee saw no explicit evidence that this is the case but understands
public perceptions to the contrary. If the purpose of the parking enforcement
system is to prevent illegal parking then Londoners must be clear as to what
they are expected to do, and in return have absolute confidence that boroughs
are acting only for the purposes of ensuring road safety, maintaining traffic

9
flows and managing kerb space where demand exceeds supply. We urge the
boroughs to do more if they are to reassure the public that, as they state, the
purpose of parking enforcement is, and will continue to be, to manage traffic.

Proportionality
9. We received considerable evidence that motorists are being fined for minor
breaches of regulations such as overstaying pay and display bays for a few
minutes, cars parked inches outside marked bays or with a wheel barely on a
kerb.

10. There seems to be an emerging recognition that there is an argument that


divides between contraventions in permitted parking – overstaying on a meter
for example - as opposed to more significant and absolute contraventions such
as parking on a yellow line where it is prohibited.

11. We believe that a study of differential parking penalties is needed and that
further work should be done on the practicability of operating two tier penalties
for minor contraventions in permitted parking, as opposed to more serious
overstays or contraventions of prohibited parking regulation.

Complexity of regulations
12. The existence of so many different regulations between boroughs, and within
the same boroughs, is a source of confusion which leads to many unintentional
violations of parking controls.

13. The Committee sees logic in public and business desires to harmonise
regulations, however there are good reasons why controls need to vary from
place to place. It is unlikely that constant hours of operating are appropriate
across London. The Committee is aware that many calls for controls come from
specific local demands to meet particular local needs.

14. While a commonsense approach is clearly needed to ensure consistency,


consideration of local needs should remain the primary driver for instituting
parking controls. Of course raising public awareness will go some considerable
way in reducing any confusion, and this is why we welcome the publication of
any standards, guidance or directions given to those enforcing regulations.

Challenges and appeals


15. We were told that the real test of the robustness of the enforcement process lies
not in those Penalty Charge Notices that are routine but in those the motorist
challenges. Indeed there is evidence that many people give up having had their
representations challenging ticket issue rejected, when in fact they have well-
founded grounds for contesting liability.

16. Parking enforcement is a public service, although often paid for by a reluctant
customer. In any case it would seem obvious that boroughs should ensure
standards of customer care in the challenge service are the highest possible - as
they should be for any other service provided by a local authority. Boroughs
should ensure their “back office” functions are adequately resourced, and
should aim to obtain some quality standards so that this aspect of the system
offers the best possible service to the public.

10
17. We recommend that all local authorities have arrangements in place for carefully
considering the advice and feedback received from the Association of London
Government and Appeals Service and acting on it if this can improve the
challenge process.

Impacts on business
18. Parking and deliveries are essential activities for most businesses, and are an
essential part of economic activity. However, some businesses believe the
existing high level of fines borne by business, running into millions of pounds a
year, could threaten the capital’s economic competitiveness. From the evidence
received, business finds the current loading and unloading facilities inadequate,
and feels that the imbalance needs to be rectified.

19. Much of the impact of parking enforcement activity on business seems to stem
from the varying regulations and interpretations of them. Boroughs and
contractors need to review the training of Parking Attendants so that they fully
understand the laws and regulations about the loading and unloading of
vehicles and also their knowledge of the freight industry’s needs. Equally,
business needs to ensure employees are aware of local regulation.

20. Boroughs should seriously consider the proposals made by the Freight Transport
Association with regard to the “London Delivery Disc” and agree the best
practice and standards that companies would have to adopt in order to qualify
for the scheme and the way in which this system would be enforced.

Safety and security of parking attendants


21. Incidents of assault on parking attendants, be it verbal or physical, occur daily.
Unfortunately the issues surrounding the safety and security of Parking
Attendants have not decreased in London in the ten years since the advent of
decriminalised parking and in some instances have become worse. Being a
Parking Attendant is a difficult and demanding job and there is no such thing as
a safe area.

22. It is imperative that the safety and security of staff remains the highest priority
and that there is a concerted effort by all involved to protect them and support
them. We believe that boroughs and contractors should review the
appropriateness of schemes such as Kensington and Chelsea’s “side by side”
initiative and ensure that risks to Parking Attendants are reduced by measures
such as; recording and reporting all assaults; minimising the instances of
patrolling alone, particularly in known trouble spots, and regularly reviewing risk
assessments.

Conclusions
23. Public perception of how the system is operating is critical to its success. But in
recent years there has been a growing amount of negative publicity about
parking enforcement in the media, which has gone some way to damaging
confidence in the system.

24. It is evident that the boroughs are recognising that there is an issue of public
confidence and it is in their interest to demonstrate that everything they do

11
leading to a ticket is valid, proportionate and fair. Boroughs are slowly moving
in that direction, we agree that they are moving a bit too slowly and have moved
a bit late, but generally that is the direction they are moving in.

25. The Committee hopes that this pace of progress can be accelerated across
London. There is nothing to gain from a system which allows authorities to
impose a penalty on a citizen without that citizen being fully aware of the
reasons for that penalty and having absolute confidence that the fine is being
imposed fairly, efficiently and transparently.

12
1 Introduction
1.1 Parking controls, and the enforcement of those controls, were introduced to
serve two key objectives: ensuring road safety and maintaining traffic flows.
With increasing numbers of vehicles in London further controls have been
introduced to manage kerb space where demand for parking exceeds supply.
The policies developed to meet all these objectives must also allow safe and un-
obstructive parking and comply with relevant legislation.

1.2 Public perception is crucial to the success of parking enforcement. While


parking enforcement in most cases produces a surplus, which is legal, it should
not deliberately set out to maximise a profit. Over the last few years there has
been growing coverage of this issue in the media, mostly negative, which has
fanned much public suspicion as to the real motives for parking enforcement.

1.3 Some members of the public now believe the distinction between the need for
maintaining safe traffic flow and regulating parking space has become blurred.
Many view parking enforcement as an invisible tax.

1.4 Whatever income is generated through enforcement action must be balanced by


ensuring standards of customer care are the highest possible - as they would be
for any other service provided by a local authority. The sensitivity of the
subject, and the importance of maintaining public support for proper and
relevant parking controls, means that regular scrutiny of the subject is vital.

1.5 This scrutiny is a timely one. The Road Traffic Act 1991 decriminalised parking
enforcement. The first borough started enforcement in 1993 and by 1996 all
London boroughs had taken on parking enforcement. It is therefore just over
ten years since boroughs started to take over the control of parking and it would
seem appropriate to review what has happened in that time.1

1.6 This investigation has also attracted a huge response from Londoners. While
parking enforcement always receives some press coverage, the past few months
have seen considerable public concern about elements of decriminalised parking
enforcement as carried out by boroughs.2

1.7 The growth of parking enforcement activity also makes it worthy of


investigation. In 1990/91, the last full year of police enforcement before the
1991 Act started to encourage the police to start to reduce their activities, 1.8
million fixed penalty notices were issued by the Metropolitan Police and the
traffic warden service.

1.8 By 1996/97 over 3.5 million PCNs resulted in just over 27,000 appeals. In
2003/04 over 5.9 million tickets were issued attracting nearly 44,000 appeals.

1
At the same time as the Transport Committee launched this investigation the British Parking Association
also announced the that it was undertaking an initiative to review the way that Decriminalised Parking
Enforcement (DPE) is operated throughout the country, primarily to find out whether DPE is being
operated effectively and fairly.
2
ALG TEC Executive Sub-Committee Report, 22 July 2004

13
1.9 Generally there is public support for parking enforcement, but there is growing
diversity of opinion about whether the current system is either too lenient, or
too harsh. In essence, people are asking, is it fair?

1.10 A recent report has explored the essential requirements of any system whereby
local authorities seek to use penalty notices as part of an enforcement role. “If
enforcement is to be effective, it needs to be fair. Enforcement must be
equitable, proportionate and governed by clear and transparent standards.
Performance should be monitored, reviewed and audited, and the public needs
to fully understand how the penalty notice system fits into the administration of
justice. The system must be democratically accountable, and it must be
perceived to be by the public”.3

1.11 The main purpose of this scrutiny is therefore to investigate whether the right
balance is being maintained between the need to introduce and enforce parking
controls and, at the same time, ensuring that the process is both operating, and
importantly seen to be operating, both fairly and effectively.

1.12 This report is set out in two main sections:


x The legislative framework for parking controls and the historical
development of controls and enforcement in London and;
x Issues relating to the current enforcement regime in London; concerns raised
by individuals and organisations who have contributed to this investigation,
the boroughs responses to these concerns and possible improvements to the
system.

3
The New Enforcers, Local authorities and the penalty notice system. Fellows’ Associates, December
2004

14
2 Background to the development of parking
enforcement in London
2.1 The Association of London Government (ALG) evidence to the Committee
provides a useful summary of the objectives of parking controls, enforcement of
these controls and how these have developed over time in London.

Objectives of parking enforcement


2.2 The issue of parking enforcement in London cannot be considered without an
understanding of the basis for parking regulations. The first parking restrictions
were introduced in the 1920s, with the first meters (in Manchester Square) in
1958.

2.3 In Britain, and in central London in particular, it was not uncommon to find cars
double or even triple parked in various locations. A study of road accidents in
London in 1947/48 showed an overall increase in accidents of 8 per cent
whereas in another part where several miles of road had had parking controls
introduced, accidents fell by 31.5 per cent.4

2.4 Studies following the introduction of the new metered controlled zones showed
that the number of parked vehicles was halved, and traffic speeds increased by
16 per cent from 8.2mph to 9.6mph. Traffic accidents decreased by 21 per cent
in the zone but in similar uncontrolled areas the number of accidents rose by 22
per cent.5

2.5 As the number of cars have grown controls have been introduced to manage
kerb space where demand for parking exceeds supply.6 Further controls have
been introduced as boroughs seek to implement policies such as traffic
reduction and to encourage people to use their cars less.7

2.6 These policies must take into account the different requirements of all
stakeholders involved. These include:
x The motorists who park;
x The motorists who wish to drive through the area being enforced;
x The retailers who rely on motorists for their business and probably park
themselves;
x Other businesses who require parking for their employees and visitors;
x Residents.8

2.7 Each of these stakeholders will have different ideas of what is ‘good’
enforcement. The retailer will want to maximise parking for his customers but
will not want them to receive PCNs, the resident wants to ensure that spaces are

4
Research on Road Traffic, Road Research Laboratory 1965
5
ALG written evidence
6
According to the 2001 Census there were 2,6 million vehicles owned by Londoners in 2001
7
ALG evidence presents a different view – paragraph 3.14 below
8
NCP written evidence

15
reserved for them and the through-driver does not want to be delayed by
unlawful and obstructive parking.

Historical and legislative background


2.8 Parking enforcement was traditionally the responsibility of the Metropolitan and
City police forces. Traffic wardens were introduced in 1969 to supplement the
work of police officers in this area as police officers were unable to enforce the
regulations effectively and lack of enforcement was an issue.

2.9 Despite this move enforcement was not carried out effectively or efficiently.
Studies in the 1980s indicated that only one illegal parking act in 100 was
penalised and more than 50 per cent of those fixed penalty notices (FPNs)
issued did not result in the penalty being paid.9 The Metropolitan Police did
not consider parking enforcement a priority and resources were limited.
Additionally, the MPS parking enforcement service cost nearly £40m in 1990.

2.10 Following lobbying by the London boroughs, the Road Traffic Act 1991 allowed
for the decriminalisation of parking enforcement and its transfer to local
authorities in special parking areas (SPAs). In London, SPAs were created to
cover the whole of London, except for the red route network, the Whitehall
security zone and the Royal Parks. These became operational during 1993/94
with a pilot scheme starting in part of Wandsworth in July 1993. All boroughs
operated borough-wide SPAs by July 1994.

2.11 The 1991 Act provided for a widespread change in the approach to parking
enforcement. On the street, local authority parking attendants were empowered
to issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) and to authorise vehicles to be clamped
or removed. At this time the Government required this service to be subject to
compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) as a way of introducing private sector
involvement.

2.12 Legislation in London Local Authorities Acts in 1995 and 2000 and London
Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 modified the 1991 Act,
while the London Local Authorities Act 1996 provided for local authority
enforcement of bus lanes. The joint 2003 Act allows for decriminalised
enforcement of other moving traffic offences, such as stopping in box junctions.

2.13 The Traffic Management Act 2004 consolidated this legislation and extended
the provisions contained in the London Acts to the rest of the country.

2.14 London has seen such a dramatic change in the approach to parking regulations
and their enforcement over the last forty years that it was almost inevitably
going to generate some debate.

2.15 And it did. “The transition from the benign or laissez faire police enforcement
and the much more efficient and enthusiastic enforcement by, or on behalf of
London Boroughs has been predictably controversial and even confrontational,
as both motorists, Parking Attendants and the London Boroughs embarked on a
steep learning curve”.10

9
ALG written evidence
10
RAC Foundation for Motoring written evidence.

16
3 The current system

3.1 ALG evidence to the Committee again outlines the basic procedures for
operating parking enforcement in London.

3.2 As set out in the previous section, the 1991 Act paved the way for a widespread
change in the approach to parking enforcement in London. Local authority
parking attendants were created and empowered to issue PCNs and to authorise
vehicles to be clamped or removed.

3.3 From the outset, the majority of PCN issue has been computerised, with
attendants carrying hand held computers or hand held remote terminals.
Parking attendants must also maintain a log book, recording all of their activity
and supplementary information about any vehicles issued with a PCN or other
incident. This includes, for example, the vehicle’s tax disc serial number and
evidence that this has been recorded gives weight to proving the attendant was
present beside the vehicle when issuing the PCN. All conversations with the
driver of a vehicle should also be recorded.11

3.4 An important change introduced at the time was the withholding of much of the
traffic wardens’ discretion from parking attendants. The attendants cannot
cancel a PCN after it has been issued.

3.5 PCNs show a “contravention code” and a description of the offence on the
front. The 27 codes operating in London, and descriptions of them, are set out
in Appendix 1, with further information about the contravention.

Penalties
3.6 Decriminalised parking penalties in London are set by a joint committee of the
London boroughs (ALG Transport and Environment Committee) on borough
roads or TfL on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). Penalty levels
are reviewed annually and in depth every four years.

3.7 Penalty levels are divided into three bands. Band A applies primarily in inner and
central London and the main town centres; band B applies to the rest of outer
London; band C is generally used in car parks in outer London.

3.8 The map below shows the location of bands A and B in London.

11
ALG written evidence

17
Source: ALG TEC Statistics 2003/04

Current penalty levels are:


Full Penalty Discounted Penalty
Band A £100 £50
Band B £80 £40
Band C £60 £30

3.9 ALG also sets charges for declamping, pound release, vehicle storage and
disposal which are currently:
Release from clamp £65
Release from pound £150
Vehicle storage £25 per day
Vehicle disposal £65

3.10 The principle the ALG TEC has adopted in setting penalties is that the lowest
penalty which provides sufficient deterrent with a coherent pattern of penalties
should be used. The legislation also provides for a discounted penalty where
early payment is made.12

PCN processing
3.11 PCNs are processed by councils following the basic arrangements set down in
the 1991 Act. In brief, these set out that:
x If the PCN is paid within 14 days a discount (50 per cent) applies;
12
ALG written evidence

18
x If the PCN is not paid within 28 days, the council may issue a Notice to
Owner (NtO) to the keeper of the vehicle, who is then legally liable for the
penalty. The NtO allows for formal representations to be made to the
council against liability for the penalty;
x If neither payment nor representations are received within 28 days, the
council may issue a charge certificate which has the effect of increasing the
penalty by 50 per cent;
x If the charge certificate is not paid within 14 days, the council may register
the penalty as a debt at the county court. This results in a court order
requiring the person to pay the penalty at the charge certificate level plus £5
registration charge;
x If this is not paid within 21 days, the council may apply for a warrant of
execution, allowing bailiffs to seize goods to pay for the debt. By this stage
the amount owing will include regulated bailiffs’ fees.

Growth in parking enforcement activity


3.12 PCN numbers have increased from just over 2 million per annum in 1994/95 to
nearly 6 million per annum in 2003/04 as shown in the diagram below and in
Appendix 2.
7,000,000

6,000,000

5,000,000

4,000,000
PCNs
Inner
Out er
3,000,000

2,000,000

1,000,000

0
94/ 95 94/ 95 95/ 96 1996/ 97 97/ 98 98/ 99 99/ 00 00/ 01 01/ 02 02/ 03 03/ 04

Volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes

PCN annualised PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN

Source: ALG written evidence

3.13 The ALG explain this growth in activity by saying that: “Over the period from
1970 to 1994 there was, in effect, a moratorium on the creation of new
controlled parking zones because of the lack of police resources to enforce
them. This was in spite of increasing demands from the public as the pressure
on parking spaces, driven by increased car use, grew. Following
decriminalisation in 1994, there has been a big increase in the number of CPZs,
in part, catching up with the backlog created during the ‘70s and ‘80s. More
than 100 new CPZs or extensions have been created since 1994”.13

13
ALG written evidence

19
3.14 ALG goes on to add: “CPZs are not created for policy purposes such as reducing
car use, but in response to public pressure.14 Growth in the volume of controls
has followed with both more zones and extended hours. Whereas, before 1994,
controlled hours finished at 6.30pm (reflecting the fact that traffic wardens
would then be off shift), hours now extend until later in the evening and include
both Saturday afternoons and Sundays”.

Finance and income


3.15 PCN penalty income is retained by boroughs and most boroughs make a surplus
on their parking accounts. Appendix 4 sets out the income, expenditure and
surplus/deficits for London boroughs in 2002/03. Boroughs for which the ALG
provided the Committee figures15 showed the London authorities made a total
income in parking accounts of about £300 million. Against this, operational
costs accounted for about £185 million, leaving a surplus of about £113 million.

3.16 PCN income, together with income from on-street parking charges, must go into
a separate parking account, regulated in terms of the Road Traffic Regulation
Act 1984. This Act provides that any surplus of income over expenditure can
only be used in limited circumstances:
x For the provision of further parking facilities, on or off-street, within or
without the borough boundaries; and, where further expenditure on parking
facilities is either unnecessary or undesirable:
o On public transport facilities, services or improvements;
o On highway improvements;
o On road maintenance;
o On schemes to support the transport strategy of the Mayor of
London;
o On environmental improvements.16

3.17 Parking surpluses provide for much of the cost of the Freedom Pass which
provides free public transport for London’s elderly and disabled residents.

3.18 Each authority must submit an annual report on their parking account to the
Mayor of London, including an account of what use has been made of any
surpluses.

3.19 However, the Traffic Management Act 2004 allows authorities defined as
‘excellent’ under Comprehensive Performance Assessment appraisal to spend
enforcement revenue on anything. They will not be restricted to the limited
circumstances set out above.17

14
This is questioned by statements in a number of borough parking plans which do cite policy objectives
such as traffic reduction targets and reduction in car use as set out in paragraph 2.5
15
Figures were not provided for four boroughs or for TfL parking income
16
ALG written evidence
17
Audit Commission assessments for 2004 show there are 8 London boroughs rated “excellent” and 12 in
the next category “good” http://www.audit-
commission.gov.uk/cpa/downloads/CPAAssessmentFrameworkDecember20041.xls

20
Consultation and review
3.20 All parking regulations, parking penalty levels and their application are subject
to consultation with residents, users and other stakeholders before a final
decision is made. The case of Cran v LB Camden (1995) made clear the
approach that boroughs must have towards consultation, particularly that it
must be thorough and open minded. Specifically the judgment sets out that
local authorities must consult about the principle as well as the detail of any
proposed CPZ.

3.21 “The process of consultation must be effective; looked at as a whole, it must be


fair. This requires that: consultation must take place while the proposals are still
at a formative stage; those consulted must be provided with information which
is accurate and sufficient to enable them to make a meaningful response; they
must be given adequate time in which to do so; there must be adequate time for
their responses to be considered; the consulting party must consider the
responses with a receptive mind and in a conscientious manner when reaching
its decision”.18

3.22 The ALG’s written evidence outlines the overall reasoning applied by local
authorities before any decision to introduce parking restrictions. “Any type of
controlled parking zone is difficult and expensive to introduce, both in terms of
the equipment and signs on the street and in terms of the procedures and
consultations that must be gone through. Councils do not, therefore, introduce
such zones except, in general, where there is public support for them. This may
result, in the short term, in parking being displaced from one street to another,
but this is a more satisfactory approach to the public as a whole than attempting
to introduce a zone into any area where a majority oppose it”.19

3.23 Opinion surveys are regularly carried out on enforcement. In autumn 2003, the
ALG’s Survey of Londoners revealed that 50 per cent of Londoners considered
parking enforcement to be too lax, while 19 per cent considered it to be too
strict and 31 per cent thought it was about right. In 2004, views had shifted
with 29 per cent now considering parking enforcement to be too lenient (40 per
cent for bus lanes), 38 per cent considering it to be about right (35 per cent for
bus lanes) and 25 per cent considering it to be too strict (18 per cent for bus
lanes).20

3.24 Historically, parking regulations were reviewed rarely, if at all. Where


enforcement was limited or non-existent, an out of date regulation made little
difference. The onset of tougher enforcement through the decriminalised
regime changed that. Government advice urged councils to review regulations
and, in practice, the political accountability for enforcement meant that councils
found it hard to continue enforcing regulations that could not be justified. The
ALG says that “nowadays, parking regulations are, in practice, under continual
review”.

18
Regina v Camden London Borough Council ex parte Mark Dyson, Gordon Cran and others. Queen’s
Bench Division, 11 January 1995
19
ALG written evidence
20
ALG written evidence

21
3.25 ALG evidence states that “unlike most law enforcement, elected councillors are
directly responsible for the policies towards enforcement in their authority (local
councillors do not get involved with decisions on individual parking penalties).
In its own right this provides better safeguards against excesses than might
occur elsewhere. It also ensures that there is a proper feedback from voters to
the council on policies”.

Challenges and appeals


3.26 There are a number of stages at which the penalty can be challenged. First,
immediately after issue of the PCN, the recipient can contest this with the
council. This is an informal challenge as it is not part of the statutory procedure
and cannot, of itself, give access to the appeals system.

3.27 Secondly, the keeper can make formal representations following issue of the
Notice to Owner (NtO) or on recovery of the vehicle if it has been clamped or
removed. These representations must be considered by the council (and, if the
vehicle was clamped or removed, are deemed to have been accepted by the
council if no response is made within 56 days). The 1991 Act sets out grounds
which, if accepted by the council, must result in cancellation of the NtO and, in
some cases, cancellation of the PCN. Broadly, these grounds fall into two
groups;
x That there was no contravention; or
x That there may have been a contravention but that the person sent the NtO
was not liable to pay the penalty.

3.28 At this stage councils must consider the use of their discretion in mitigating
circumstances. On average councils receive some form of challenge on nearly
20 per cent of PCNs.21

3.29 If the representations are rejected, the keeper can appeal to the independent
adjudicator, who can direct that the NtO (or PCN) is cancelled if he or she
considers that one of the statutory grounds has been met. The adjudicator
constitutes a statutory tribunal and an appeal to the adjudicator replaces the
previous right to have the case heard in a magistrates’ court.

3.30 The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) provides the independent
adjudication service in London for deciding disputed parking and bus lane
penalties charged by Councils and TfL and congestion charging penalties issued
by TfL. A motorist who disputes liability for a penalty may appeal to PATAS and
is considered at either a personal hearing or on written evidence.

3.31 Adjudicators must be barristers or solicitors of at least five years’ standing. All
the adjudicators are part time and a panel of 54 adjudicators, headed by a Chief
Adjudicator, is currently in place. The Leggat review of tribunals, conducted for
the Department of Constitutional Affairs in 2002, described PATAS as “the most
user focussed aspect of justice in the UK”.

3.32 In 2003/04 the Parking Adjudicators received some 44,280 appeals (from 5.2
million PCNs issued or 0.86 per cent). This relatively low level of appeals must
21
British Parking Association, evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005

22
be seen in the context of a broad percentage of around 45 per cent of the total
PCNs issued which are paid at the discount rate, and the fact that local
authorities themselves cancel an average of around 20 per cent of PCNs of their
own volition before the motorist has the chance to lodge an appeal to the
independent Adjudicator.22

3.33 On average, about 60 per cent of appeals are allowed by the adjudicators, a
figure which has remained broadly constant over the years, while the percentage
of appeals heard at a personal hearing is slowly declining and the percentage of
appeals not contested by the authorities, at about 30 per cent, is slowly
climbing.

3.34 The Chief Parking Adjudicator also added in his evidence to the Committee that
“in 2003/2004, 0.9 per cent of Penalty Charge Notices resulted in an appeal to
the Adjudicators. However, there were considerable variations between Local
Authorities, ranging from 0.2 per cent to 2.1 per cent. We do not know the
reasons for the variations; nor do I make any judgment about what is the “right”
rate of appeal. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that there are such variations and
the bare statistics might well merit further investigation with the aim of
spreading best practice”.23

3.35 “I would also mention that up to the end of November this calendar year (2004)
we have received 32 per cent more appeals than in the same period last year.
Again, we do not know the reasons for this. The increase is, however, a very
large and somewhat surprising one, given that decriminalised parking has been
fully in force throughout London since 1996/1997”. 24

Recommendation 1
The Committee recommends that PATAS makes the reasons for the changes in the rate and
type of appeals it is receiving known to key stakeholders including the boroughs and London
Assembly. It would be helpful to Londoners for PATAS to include an assessment of these trends
in its next Annual Report.

Transport for London Road Network


3.36 TfL has delivered an enforcement service in respect of bus lanes on the TLRN
using decriminalised powers since April 2001 and since June 2004 in respect of
other decriminalised moving traffic contraventions.

3.37 Responsibility for parking enforcement on the Transport for London Road
Network (TLRN) was passed to TfL on 15 November 2004. Prior to this the
Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) were directly responsible for parking
enforcement of the red route network (with the City of London Police
responsible for the few red routes in the City).

3.38 TfL’s main priorities are to improve compliance with parking controls on the
TLRN in order to reduce congestion, improve journey times (especially those of
buses) and to secure and improve road safety in respect of all road users.
22
Parking and Traffic Appeals Service Annual Report 2003/04
23
These statistics, compiled from the ALG TEC Annual Report, are set out in Appendix 5
24
PATAS written evidence 17 December 2004

23
3.39 TfL discharges its enforcement duties through a Special Services Agreement
with the MPS. As a result, 350 Traffic Wardens and 450 Transport Police
Community Support Officers of the TfL-funded MPS Transport Operational
Command Unit (TOCU) enforce parking restrictions on the TLRN. They issue
£100 Penalty Charge Notices for parking contraventions which are processed by
TfL’s contractor. Representations are handled by TfL, with appeals handled by
PATAS.

3.40 TfL does not use the number of penalty charge notices issued as a performance
indicator. It has instead monitored the impact of bus lane enforcement on bus
journey times. Generally, TfL has seen a 9 per cent improvement on year-on-
year bus journey times on those bus lanes enforced and approximately a 58 per
cent reduction in numbers of contraventions per kilometre since enforcement
began.

3.41 TfL has conducted a range of research on public perception of enforcement in


relation to bus lanes (and latterly in relation to parking and yellow box
enforcement). The research has shown that 98 per cent of the public are aware
of bus lane enforcement and 56 per cent approve of it. 61 per cent of the
public are also aware that cameras enforce bus lanes..25

3.42 In accordance with guidance from the ALG and PATAS, TfL considers all
representations and challenges made prior to a formal appeal and attempts to
assist enquirers with their queries at the earliest stage possible to avoid the need
to make formal representations.

3.43 One of TfL’s objectives is to seek Charter Mark for the notice processing service.
As part of this TfL will be reviewing customer satisfaction levels with this part of
the service.

3.44 Once the policy decision had been made to decriminalise parking
enforcement and hand controls to the boroughs a relatively complex
system to administer controls and enforcement, including the right to
appeal against penalties, had to evolve.

3.45 In addition it seems that it was inevitable that once parking controls
started to be “reintroduced” from the mid 1990’s, including the spread
of residents’ parking, many more areas would become subject to control
as cars moved from controlled areas to those nearby without them.

3.46 It is also clear that the challenge is to make the need for these controls,
and the application of the enforcement which has to go with them, as
understandable to road users and as transparent as possible to the
public in order to influence their perceptions of the fairness of the
system.

25
TfL written evidence

24
4 Public concerns
Introduction
4.1 The previous sections of this report have set out the response in London to the
difficult choices posed by growing numbers of cars competing for limited kerb
space while seeking to ensure road safety and maintaining traffic flows.

4.2 The ALG’s opening and concluding paragraphs of its written evidence succinctly
sum up the inevitable tensions these choices generate.

4.3 “At one time, anyone who drove a car could park where they wanted, without
time limit, free of charge. As car numbers have soared those days have gone,
but the dream still remains for many. And where yellow lines or parking
restrictions prevent drivers from parking where they want, many will take a risk,
parking illegally and putting their own needs above other road users’”.

4.4 “Overall, London’s parking enforcement regime provides an approach which


reduces congestion and accidents and which regulates use of the kerb space
more effectively than its predecessor and does so at no net cost to the public.
Any approach to increasing enforcement is bound to bring complaints from
those who previously were able to get away with unlawful behaviour for their
own benefit”.26

4.5 The effect of this has been predictable and widely publicised. As the RAC
Foundation for Motoring noted, it could be described as “controversial and even
confrontational”.

4.6 Generally there is public support for parking regulations and their enforcement
but there is growing diversity of opinion about whether the balance of the
system is right: 29 per cent consider parking enforcement to be too lenient; 38
per cent consider it to be about right, and 25 per cent consider it to be too
strict.27

4.7 The Committee received a tremendous response from members of the public,
businesses and other organisations concerned with parking enforcement and, by
and large, they reflect the diverse opinions as surveyed by the ALG.

4.8 The following sections highlight the concerns raised by those who contacted the
Committee. These have been separated into specific issues addressed by
individuals, businesses, other road users and by the local authorities and
contractors.

4.9 Of all the responses received by the Assembly to this investigation from
members of the public, the issues of revenue raising, proportionality and
discretion consistently appear to raise the most concern. Other issues surround
problems with signage, the complexity of regulations operating between areas
and difficulties dealing with the challenge and appeal process.

26
ALG written evidence
27
ALG Survey of Londoners 2004. In autumn 2003, the ALG’s Survey of Londoners revealed that 50 per
cent of Londoners considered parking enforcement to be too lax, while 19 per cent considered it to be
too strict. 31 per cent thought it was about right

25
Overview
4.10 These issues, and the effect they have on many Londoners, can be neatly
summarised by quoting part of the introduction to the report “The New
Enforcers”.

4.11 “The penalty notice system may be appreciated by the public where it appears
that public authorities are using it to tackle high-volume, low-level
infringements which affect the quality of their lives and where, hitherto, no
action has been taken.

4.12 Operating effectively, the penalty notice system can provide a proportionate
way of dealing with minor criminal offences and civil wrongdoing. Working
badly, the public may believe that ‘ordinary’ people are being punished whilst
the ‘real criminals’ get away.

4.13 It may, however, offend the public’s sense of natural justice if individuals feel
pressurised to accept a penalty notice when they have done nothing wrong, or if
people perceive themselves to be victims of an over-zealous and punitive
state”.28

Revenue from parking enforcement


4.14 It is fair to say that many of the members of the public who have written to this
Committee have drawn the conclusion that the operation of parking
enforcement in London has as much to do with raising revenue as it does with
the original objectives of ensuring road safety and maintaining traffic flows.
Among the factors which lead them to this belief are perceptions that:
x Contracts for parking enforcement contain targets and incentives for
maximising the issuing of tickets;
x The increasing numbers of tickets being issued is a deliberate policy;
x Tickets are being issued for minor infringements – and accounts of being
issued “fraudulent” tickets.

Contracts for parking enforcement


4.15 The ALG have pointed out that under the legislation in place in 1991, parking
attendant services, clamping and removal services were subject to compulsory
competitive tendering (CCT) and, as a result, about half the London boroughs
use contracted out attendants and almost all clamping and removal activity is
contracted out.

4.16 ALG evidence also states that, while most contracts provide some incentive for
contractors to perform, none provide for straightforward commission payments
and none provide limitless incentives for contractors to issue more and more
penalties. No incentives or defaults are based solely on PCN issue. Where any
ticket targets are included these are usually accompanied by maximum ticket

28
The New Enforcers, Local authorities and the penalty notice system. Fellows’ Associates, December
2004

26
issue numbers and/or tapering payments to contractors as PCN numbers
climb.29

4.17 The Chief Executive of NCP30 appeared to be less certain of this when he said “It
is true to say historically, there were contracts like that (based on commission
payments for the number of penalty charge notices that are issued). They are
now increasingly rare. I am not saying that they do not still exist, but they are, I
think, a minority, and in a fairly short time, they will be history”.31

4.18 The RAC told the Committee that it believes targets are built into parking
contracts to enable local authority financial planning to take place.32 The ALG
explained this to the Committee as “individual boroughs have contracts in which
there is a benchmark for the number of tickets likely to be issued in the area and
payment to the contractor does actually bear some relationship to meeting that
benchmark. Otherwise, we would have contracts in which they would not have
to deploy anybody on the streets or issue any tickets and they would still get
their full pay. That would clearly be a complete waste of public money. There
has to be some notion of what they are doing. These benchmarks are based on
historical experience of the level of parking infringements that we are aware
of”.33

4.19 However public perception is that contracts are still largely based on targets and
incentives to issue a maximum number of PCNs. These perceptions are
sustained by newspaper reports of some contractors awarding monthly “prizes”
of holidays or cars for those PAs issuing the most number of tickets.34 The
phrase “over zealous Parking Attendants” has much to do with perceptions of
these incentive-based contracts.

4.20 In an effort to improve these contracts a number of moves have been made
towards rewarding the number of correctly issued tickets and emphasising other
aspects of “quality” service. The British Parking Association (BPA) has
developed a “new model contract” which is being trialled with the London
Borough of Hackney. This contract is based on, amongst other things,
performance related payments that are directly linked to accurate measurement
of performance, through key performance indicators (i.e. moving away from the
reliance of the number of PCNs issued) and employing the right calibre of
parking attendants, who are well motivated, well trained and suitably
remunerated.35

4.21 Early reports from the Hackney scheme, which has been running since
September 2004, appear to show that while the number of PCNs issued is

29
ALG written evidence
30
NCP is the largest provider of on-street parking enforcement in the UK and provides on-street parking
enforcement for a number of London boroughs including Camden, Enfield, Islington, Lewisham, Sutton,
Waltham Forest and Westminster City Council.
31
Bob Mcnaughton, Chief Executive, NCP, evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005
32
RAC Foundation for Motoring, evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005
33
ALG, evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
34
One of the most recent reports reveals NCP is awarding Argos vouchers in return for improved
performance such as the number of tickets issued per shift.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1562367_1,00.html
35
British Parking Association written evidence and evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005

27
unchanged while the level of challenges has fallen from 8 per cent to 6 per cent
with an appeal rate of 0.6 per cent below the 0.9 per cent London average.36

4.22 Another parking contractor, Central Parking Systems (CPS), believes that a move
towards more “qualitative” contracts has established a more positive framework
which shares risk and reward and reduces the previous confrontational contracts
which developed out of CCT.

4.23 CPS told the Committee that contracts should go beyond the number of PCNs
issued and complaints received but should also cover issues such as customer
care training, spot checks of PCNs issued, provision of digital images to support
tickets and reporting inadequate signage, lines, damaged pavements and street
furniture.37

4.24 NCP has one contract which has a financial penalty if too many PCNs are issued
above the “expected figure” and encourages clients to build this into contracts
to reassure the public that PA’s will not be “over zealous”. NCP also state that
its favoured type of contract is one which is operating in Camden: a six-point
system of good performance whereby staff have to be sick or absent for less
than one shift a month; have no public complaints against them upheld; have no
disciplinary action against them upheld; issue more than 97 per cent valid PCNs,
issue numbers of PCNs in line with expectations, and achieve a certain number
of PCNs paid within the discount period.38

4.25 The ALG says that “despite the widespread allegations that councils are only
interested in raising revenue, no evidence has been presented that councils are
engaged in such widespread and systematic unlawful activity”.39

Recommendation 2
We recommend that the ALG produce an early report on the results of the Hackney trial of the
BPA “new model contract” in terms of compliance, representations, cancelled tickets, appeals
and any impact on Parking Attendant safety and security with a view to embedding good
practice in new forms of parking contracts.

Increasing numbers of tickets issued - compliance with the regulations


4.26 Figures showing the increase in the number of PCNs issued, the number of
clampings and removals of vehicles and the boroughs’ parking account balances
are shown in Appendices 2, 3 and 4.40

4.27 There is general agreement that the true test of effective parking regulations
and their enforcement is compliance with those regulations – that is to say that
the number of tickets issued should, theoretically, go down as motorists comply
with regulations and park legally.

36
Surveyor magazine January 2005
37
CPS written evidence
38
NCP written evidence
39
ALG written evidence
40
ALG written evidence

28
4.28 “What we are aiming for is compliance with the regulations, which should have
been established in the first place to achieve the transport and street
management objectives and policies. Enforcement, if you like, is the by-
product, and there is income, but if we achieve compliance, there will be no
income”.41

4.29 ALG evidence shows the effect of effective compliance when bus lane
enforcement is assisted by CCTV evidence. Where this type of enforcement has
been in place for more than a year both the number of offences and the number
of PCNs issued fall dramatically.42

4.30 This is not true for the wider aspects of parking enforcement. Figures for the
overall number of PCNs issued in London have showed a steady, and continuing
rise since the start of decriminalised parking enforcement (paragraph 3.12
above). The ALG have, in part, explained that this growth in activity is a result
of:
x New and extended CPZs;
x New decriminalised offences, such as bus lanes and moving traffic offences;
x The introduction of camera enforcement;
x Tougher enforcement of existing regulations.

4.31 Figures supplied by the ALG (Appendix 2) break down the numbers of PCNs
issued by boroughs from 1999/2000 to 2003/04. Overall the number of tickets
issued in London increased by 46 per cent however this hides wide variations,
both upwards and downwards:

Increased ticket numbers Decreased ticket numbers


Islington 158% City of London -35%
Newham 150% Tower Hamlets -33%
Enfield 130% Richmond -11%
Barnet 110% Greenwich -10%
Lambeth 105% Hounslow -9%

4.32 The Committee has seen no evidence to explain these variations – particularly
the downward trends - and is not aware of any studies having taken place to
show whether these variations are a product of simply more enforcement
activity taking place or as genuine evidence that, after ten years of
enforcement, parking regulations are becoming more effective and the public
are genuinely understanding and complying with the regulations.

4.33 It would be helpful to Londoners to know the reasons for these variations and
whether enforcement is becoming not only more effective, but actually
achieving the improved compliance which is at the heart of these policies.

41
Alan Clark - former president of the BPA, ex-head of parking at Westminster City Council
42
ALG written evidence

29
Recommendation 3
Work should be undertaken by the ALG, BPA and contractors on assessing the effectiveness of
parking regulations in improving compliance, particularly to understand why compliance seems
to be happening in some boroughs and not in others.

Proportionality
4.34 The Committee received considerable evidence that motorists are being fined
for minor breaches of regulations such as overstaying pay and display bays for a
few minutes, cars parked inches outside marked bays or with a wheel barely on a
kerb.

4.35 Also there were instances of motorists receiving multiple tickets when parked
while on holidays amounting to thousands of pounds. “You would have to do
something quite serious to get fined four figures in the Magistrates’ Court”.43

4.36 Members of the public believe that fines for these relatively minor
infringements of parking controls are set too high – a number of individuals
recount occasions of incurring penalties of some £300 (PCN, clamping and
removal of vehicles) for overstaying for 15 minutes. Penalties are also thought
disproportionate compared with fines routinely ordered for offences such as
shop lifting and anti-social behaviour.

4.37 The Association of British Drivers have said that “trivial infractions of parking
law are treated with the same severity as major infractions. Overstaying for a
few minutes on a parking meter can attract the same response and penalty as
blocking a busy lane of traffic….. In many instances there is a widespread public
belief that operatives deliberately aim for easy and numerous targets rather than
the rarer but more deserving cases of genuine obstruction or danger to road
users”.44

4.38 As set out above, the ALG TEC sets the level of fines at “the lowest penalty
which provides sufficient deterrent”. Following decriminalisation the then
Parking Committee for London and Government set the penalties at a similar
level to the fixed penalty notice.45

4.39 There are two views on whether it is possible to define a “trivial” parking
offence. According to the British Parking Association (BPA) “I would have great
difficulty identifying a trivial parking contravention. If I was disabled, and
somebody parked in a space that I wanted to use, that would be heaven and
earth, life or death possibly. If I was a resident wanting to park near my
property, that would be a major problem. If I am a delivery driver wanting to
deliver to a shop, that would be a major problem.

4.40 If I am obstructing the free flow of traffic, that is a problem for others. If I am
parked in an obstructive and dangerous position, obstructing safety, that is also
a problem. If I stay longer than my time that I have paid for on a meter or a

43
Martin Wood, Chief Parking Adjudicator evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
44
Association of British Drivers written evidence
45
British Parking Association evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005

30
pay-and-display bay, I am stopping somebody else coming in to park there, and
therefore turning over parking, which may have an impact on retailers and
others. I would have great difficulty identifying trivial contraventions, and
therefore changing the (penalty) rates accordingly”.46

4.41 Not so for the RAC Foundation for Motoring, “I do not have a problem defining
a trivial infraction. Somebody who pays for an hour on a parking meter and
then comes back two hours later has made a very clear statement. Either they
got it very badly wrong, or they do not care, and they get anything that is
coming to them. Somebody who pays for an hour on a parking meter and gets
back there an hour and two minutes later has done their best – their inadequate
best we accept that, but they were trying, and they failed. Yet, the two people
are penalised equally”.47

4.42 There seems to be an emerging recognition that there is an argument that


divides between contraventions in permitted parking – overstaying on a meter
for example - as opposed to contraventions on a yellow line where it is
prohibited.48

4.43 One alternative approach would be to bring back the Excess Charge Notice
(ECN). When enforcement was carried out under the Road Traffic Regulation
Act 1984 a lesser penalty was available to those overstaying their time in a pay
bay by less than 30 minutes. The ECN was, generally, 25 per cent of the cost of
a Fixed Penalty Notice. If it were in use today, an ECN would equate to £25 for
a central London borough which, after a 50 per cent discount for those paying
within 14 days, would cost £12.50. ECNs would mean that councils would have
the choice of either issuing a lesser value ticket or take the risk of waiting 30
minutes and issuing a PCN.49

4.44 This idea was questioned by the ALG which commented on this idea “The
difference between an ECN and a PCN is really only two-fold. The first is the
ECN had no provision for a discount for early payment. The second thing is, if
you wanted to challenge it, you had to go to a Magistrates’ Court as opposed to
going to the adjudicator. If we look at what the levels of excess charge notice
were when they were last set in 1992, they were 25 per cent more than the
equivalent fixed PCN in today’s terms that would make an excess charge notice
of about £75. I am not certain it provides any great benefit for doing that –
certainly not for small infringements. It makes the penalty higher because it
would be £75 with no discount for early payment compared to £100 or £80 with
a 50 per cent discount for early payment as it exists at the moment”.50

4.45 The Committee has heard conflicting views on the of the suitability of
reintroducing the Excess Charge Notice (or equivalent) as a possible
contribution to lower fines for minor contraventions in permitted
parking, as opposed to more serious overstays or contraventions of
prohibited parking. We cannot be sure which of these views are right or
what the effect of such a move would be.

46
British Parking Association evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005
47
RAC Foundation for Motoring evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005
48
ALG, evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
49
John Squires written evidence
50
ALG evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005

31
4.46 The Committee was told that there have been trials in a number of London
authorities for a two-tier system, for a lower rate for permitted parking
contraventions.51 Indeed the ALG is undertaking a study at the moment of the
practicality of differential penalties.

4.47 Another aspect of this issue is offering further discounts on payments for
relatively trivial contraventions. “We have one discount for early payment.
Should there be a different type of discount if you are only [late] for two or
three minutes?”52

Recommendation 4
We recommend that the ALG produce a report on differential charging options, which better
reflects the varying degrees of parking infringements. This could support a more sensitive
system and increase public acceptance of parking charges.

Allegations of fraudulent tickets


4.48 There are almost six million parking tickets issued in London. Inevitably there
will be some issued, for whatever reason, wrongly.

4.49 The final element that leads some members of the public to associate parking
enforcement and revenue raising is the alleged issue of “fraudulent” tickets –
ones which are claimed to be issued when no contravention has occurred or
served in an improper manner.

4.50 It is these accounts and media attention which has highlighted so many stories
about parking that it is now difficult to distinguish where genuine public
concerns turn into urban myths.

4.51 It is impossible to list all of the alleged instances of wrongly or unfairly issued
tickets sent to the Committee by members of the public however these
include:53
x “Ghost tickets” where parking attendants issue tickets after a vehicle has
driven away and claim it was put on the vehicle and only finding out the
alleged offence when a Notice to Owner arrives 28 days later;
x Giving tickets to vehicles legally loading and unloading or delivering;
x Parking Attendants not reporting parking meters that are not recording the
time correctly. They then issue parking tickets to vehicles parking there;
x Attendants know which parking meters are to be suspended. They allow
vehicles to park there, then suspend the bay and issue a parking ticket.;

51
British Parking Association evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005.
52
Steve Hitchins, Leader of Islington Council evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
53
There are a growing number of websites which record similar alleged improperly issued tickets such as:
http://www.appealnow.com
http://www.parkingticket.co.uk/
http://www.ticketbusters.co.uk/

32
x Councils lift up vehicles to paint yellow lines under them and then issue
parking tickets to those cars;
x Parking Attendants confirming to a driver that it's "okay to park here", the
driver returns to find parking ticket issued;
x Issuing ticket on vehicles before time on the meter has expired;
x Councils not repainting barely visible yellow lines and issuing tickets to
motorists who cannot see the lines;
x Issuing parking tickets when correct pay & display tickets are clearly shown;
x Not replacing faulty pay and display meters or parking meters – motorists
put their money in – lose it and park with a note saying they put the money
in. They then get a parking ticket;
x Issuing tickets before the enforcement period has started;
x Claiming meters or bays are suspended and issuing parking tickets, with no
evidence that the bays were suspended.

4.52 Motorists who believe they have received wrongly issued tickets have to make
representations to the issuing authority asking for cancellation as set out in the
section on challenges (paragraph 3.26).

4.53 The Committee is not the place to judge these individual allegations, nor can it
comment on whether these are isolated instances or evidence of wider, or even
deliberate, practices. However it is recognised that instances of “fraudulent”
ticketing do occur. The ALG says that “while it is accepted that there are
instances of poor or unacceptable behaviour, these do appear to be in a small
minority of occasions. Within such a large scale exercise, however, even a small
percentage represents a large number, giving ample scope for reportage”.54

4.54 It seems clear to the Committee however that a number of tickets which are
issued wrongly, irrespective of how few in percentage terms, could be reduced
by emerging technological developments. Irrespective of how small a
percentage these tickets represent eliminating wrongly issued tickets would
have an impact on public opinion through the resulting reduced reportage.

Recommendation 5
Boroughs need to enhance the evidence made available to the public when issuing penalty
notices to improve public confidence in the enforcement system. The Committee recommends
that the ALG, boroughs and contractors implement a range of technological advances which
ensure tickets are issued correctly to leave people without doubt they have been, such as:
- Issuing digital photographs showing the offence with tickets;
- Issuing digital photographs showing tickets have been affixed to the vehicle;
- Using hand held computers which cannot issue tickets before a mandatory
observation period has expired.

54
ALG written evidence

33
Recommendation 6
Boroughs and contractors should investigate all allegations of “fraudulently” issued tickets and
ensure that disciplinary action ensues if allegations are proven to be true.

Revenue raising?
4.55 There is undoubtedly for many Londoners a suspicion that the nature of
contracts, the number of tickets being issued as well as the instances of
improperly issued tickets – whatever the magnitude – represent parking
enforcement being used as revenue raising.

4.56 The Committee is also mindful of the implications of such claims, as the ALG
strongly stated.

4.57 “The point that the ALG was making is this: the conduct of parking enforcement
and the setting of the fines by law must be done for the purposes of managing
traffic, not for the purpose of raising money. If it is being alleged that boroughs
are doing this to raise money and that that is their prime motivation, that is an
allegation that boroughs have been systematically engaged in unlawful activity.
It is a very serious allegation. If there is evidence of it, we would like to see it
and of course we would expect it to lead to a court case because it would be an
allegation from which we would defend ourselves. It would be an allegation of
unlawful activity on a systematic basis by the boroughs. I very much hope that
at the end of its deliberations, the Committee would find it possible to state that
there is no such evidence, or if there is evidence, to lay it out and then we can
test it in the courts. If there is no such evidence available to you, I would hope
you would be able to say there is no such evidence”.55

4.58 We have not during this scrutiny had such explicit evidence made
available to us and so Londoners must therefore draw their own
conclusions from that.

4.59 Many Londoners believe such explicit evidence will eventually be


revealed under Freedom of Information legislation and if such evidence
is received it should be sent to the appropriate authorities as we agree
with the ALG that these constitute very serious allegations.

4.60 However, perhaps not enough has been done to dispel the perceptions
of revenue raising, and boroughs should do more if they are to reassure
the public that, as they state, the purpose of parking enforcement is,
and will continue to be, to manage traffic.

4.61 If the purpose of the parking enforcement system is to prevent illegal


parking then Londoners must be clear as to what they are expected to
do, and in return have absolute confidence that boroughs are acting
only for the purposes of ensuring road safety, maintaining traffic flows
and managing kerb space where demand exceeds supply.

55
ALG, evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005

34
4.62 The sections above have explored some of the issues relating to perceptions of
parking enforcement being used as revenue raising. The rest of this chapter
deals with problems with signage, the complexity of regulations operating
between areas and difficulties dealing with the challenge and appeal process.

Harmonisation of regulations
4.63 It is clear from individual members of the public that the existence of so many
different regulations between boroughs, and within the same boroughs, is a
source of confusion which leads to many unintentional violations of parking
controls.

4.64 The advent of the BPA standard contract56 opens the way for the establishment
of some common standards and procedures between boroughs. However, it is
fair to say that at this juncture each borough has its own particular concerns and
priorities and their enforcement practices reflect those. The proliferation of
different procedures results in confusion for the motorist as procedures vary
from borough to borough, for example:
x Observation periods for all offences;
x Waiting times for loading and unloading;
x Waiting times for commercial and private vehicles;
x Clamping and removal priorities (if any);
x Sunday restrictions;
x Bank holiday restrictions;
x Pavement parking;
x Motorcycle parking;
x Parking facilities for disabled badge holders;
x Response times to correspondence;
x Flexibility of discount period;
x Defending adjudication hearings;
x Implementing debt collection proceedings through bailiffs;
x Payment facilities;
x E-access to services.

4.65 There is an opportunity to rationalise many of these issues into best practice
standards which would remove a lot of confusion for motorists. Currently many
motorists fall victim to the assumption that the rules are the same across
London.57

4.66 ALG evidence states that “the argument is frequently made that hours of
operation of zones should be common throughout London. Yet activities vary in
different parts of London. The City of London, for example, is busy during the

56
Discussed in paragraph 4.20 above
57
Central Parking System written evidence

35
week but quiet at weekends, while the West End is busy on a Saturday and
many town centres now find that Sunday is their second busiest shopping day of
the week. Many areas which are busy during the day become quiet in the
evenings, yet places such as Soho and Bayswater experience serious parking
congestion until late in the evening.

4.67 Any attempt to impose constant hours of operation would leave some areas
controlled at times where there was no need for the control while other areas
would be uncontrolled while still busy. This would not be in anyone’s
interest”.58

4.68 NCP feels that different regulations in different boroughs can cause confusion
for road users at borough boundaries. It supports more harmonisation between
boroughs but accepts that there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach for
roads across London, because different boroughs have widely different traffic
pressures.59

4.69 The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry would also like to see a move
towards a pan-London approach to parking controls. At present, many
problems are caused by the confusion that results from the different parking
restrictions in operation in various boroughs. It would welcome the introduction
of as much standardization in relation to parking restrictions as possible.60

4.70 It was clear from our evidentiary hearings that some of the worst inconsistencies
in central London have been ironed out (see paragraph 4.80 below for an
example), but some remain. Boroughs need to keep working and, as we are told
are working, but there is a limit to how far regulations can be harmonised.

4.71 The Committee can see logic in the desire to harmonise regulations,
however there are good reasons why controls need to vary from place to
place. It is unlikely that constant hours of operating are appropriate
across London and, in addition, the Committee is aware that many calls
for controls come from specific local demands to meet particular local
needs.

4.72 While a commonsense approach is clearly needed to ensure consistency,


consideration of local needs should remain the primary driver for
instituting parking controls.

Signage
4.73 “We should never be in a position where we are issuing tickets because
motorists are confused or have made mistakes. We should be issuing parking
notices where they have breached the regulations almost wilfully. That is the
position to be in”.61

4.74 As discussed above, confusion about different regulations is matched by public


concerns over confusing lines and signage. Often regulations are quite complex,

58
ALG written evidence
59
NCP written evidence
60
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry written evidence
61
Steve Hitchins evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005

36
hours vary between areas, residents bays and pay and display bays are in close
proximity, roads which form boundaries between boroughs may have different
regulations on either side of the road and so on.

4.75 The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions specify in precise detail the
signs that must be used to indicate parking restrictions. Where there is an
unusual or non-standard type of restriction the Department for Transport must
specifically authorise each sign (and, often, its location).

4.76 However, despite these directions, as the ALG states, confusion over signage
can still occur, particularly in large areas of controlled parking.

4.77 “Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) are areas where parking on every part of every
street is controlled. They are typically introduced in town centres and residents’
parking areas. They are different from introducing individual elements of
parking control (such as a length of yellow line) in that the standard hours of
operation are displayed on entry signs to the area, dispensing with the need for
individual signs on posts for each stretch of regulation unless hours of operation
are different. This approach has the advantage of a significant reduction in sign
clutter on streets. However, at the same time, CPZs that are too big can mean
that motorists miss the entry signs and therefore the hours of operation and
confusion may then result”.62

4.78 Borough boundaries, where they are not very clearly signed, cause much
confusion. Evidence was received from many individuals who had received
tickets when parking on a boundary (which they were not aware of) and bought
a pay-and-display ticket from one borough’s machine and parked in the other
borough only to find they received a ticket.

4.79 An interesting example of current confusion is Queen's Gate, in Kensington,


illustrated on Dr William Knottenbelt’s web site at:
http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~wjk/parking/casestudy 63

4.80 There are instances where this confusion has been dealt with. “A good example
of where you can work together and deal with issues locally is Lincoln’s Inn
Fields, which has a boundary between Westminster and Camden running a
quarter of the way up. Previously there were different regimes and people did
have the problem of different hours of operation, of different machines and
putting the money in the wrong place. With some work, both those councils
have agreed a common regime between them because it caused confusion to
have differences in that particular location”.64 These changes followed a
decision by the Adjudicator on the Bladon vs. Westminster case in 1998.65

4.81 The adjudicators have considered the boundary parking issue and have said
“where there is that situation, where the borough boundary goes down the
middle of the road the signs must be absolutely clear so that it is made

62
ALG written evidence
63
Dr William Knottenbelt, written evidence
64
ALG evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
65
http://www.parkingandtrafficappeals.gov.uk/user_documents/BLAJHL2.pdf

37
absolutely clear to the motorist what the position is and if it is not, the
adjudicator is likely to allow that appeal”.66

4.82 It is clear from this that some boroughs have reciprocal arrangements on
boundary roads where motorists do not receive tickets for parking in one
borough and buying a ticket in the other’s machine. We consider this good
practice and would recommend it is followed by all authorities in London.

Recommendation 7
The Committee commends reciprocal arrangements as set out in paragraph 4.80 as good
practice, and recommends that boroughs ensure that boundary signs are made as clear as
possible, particularly in roads which run along borough boundaries.

Recommendation 8
There should be regular reviews of the effectiveness of signage at ticket “hot spots” to assess
whether more can be done to reduce any confusion which results in tickets being issued when
motorists are trying to park legally.

The challenge process


4.83 The regulations governing the challenge and appeals process have been outlined
from paragraph 3.26 above. On average councils receive some form of
challenge on nearly 20 per cent of PCNs.

4.84 The Chief Parking Adjudicator has said that the real test of the robustness of the
enforcement process lies not in those Penalty Charge Notices that are routine
but in those the motorist challenges.

4.85 The challenge process has been described by many members of the public, in
their evidence to this Committee, as confusing, intimidating and inefficient.
Many members of the public have called for compensation to be paid when
appeals are upheld to reflect the time and effort required to “prove one’s
innocence”. PATAS has itself voiced concerns about how many people give up
having had their representations rejected when in fact they have well-founded
grounds for contesting liability.67

4.86 “Adjudicators have continued to see large numbers of cases in which the
handling of the response by the Local Authority to representations has been less
than satisfactory. Some Authorities deal with this process better than others,
and some achieve a high standard. However, there continues to be a worrying
number of cases where the response does not address the issues made in the
representations or does so inadequately or inaccurately”. 68

4.87 The importance of getting every aspect of the challenge process right was
summed up by Martin Wood, the Chief Parking Adjudicator, himself.

66
Chief Parking Adjudicator evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
67
Chief Parking Adjudicator written evidence
68
Chief Parking Adjudicator written evidence

38
4.88 “Perhaps at an even more fundamental level it is about the power of the state to
impose a penalty on a citizen. In that context, local authorities do need to make
sure that they get their enforcement processes correct. We do see examples
from time to time where that does not happen. For example the notices that
local authorities issue need to comply with the statutory requirements.
Sometimes they have not. There have been other examples where the strict
legal compliance with the enforcement process has not been followed. There is
also the issue of discretion on mitigation. The councils have this discretion to
cancel a ticket at any stage and including full mitigating circumstances. The
adjudicators have made the point that unless the motorist knows that the
council can do that, how are they are to know they may put that issue of
mitigation to the local authority? The adjudicators have recommended that in
their notices, the local authority should make clear that the councils do have
that discretion. This recommendation has recently been echoed in a special
report of the Local Government Ombudsman, effectively making that very same
point.69 Therefore the issue of discretion is an important one, particularly in a
fixed penalty system where the adjudicator has no power to vary the penalty at
all if the contravention has occurred. That is a matter for the council. Therefore
that is a very important aspect of the council’s function”.70

4.89 PATAS annual reports contain a number of recommendations to improve the


process, including:
x Local Authorities should revise their Notice to Owner to explain their
discretion relating to extenuating circumstances;
x Local Authorities should review the adequacy of the training their staff
receive in considering and replying to representations;
x Local Authorities should have in place procedures, including taking
appropriate advice, to ensure that their enforcement processes are legally
compliant;
x When replying to informal representations received within the 14-day
discount period, all Local Authorities should offer a further 14 days from the
reply for payment of the reduced penalty;
x Local Authorities consider as a matter of routine sending copies of the video
stills with the Penalty Charge Notice in camera enforcement cases, to
encourage early resolution;
x That all Local Authorities should have in place arrangements for addressing
feedback received from the Adjudicators and taking such action on it as may
be appropriate.71

4.90 It is clear from what was told to the Committee that this good advice is still not
being followed in all boroughs in London. The ALG holds regular seminars for
parking managers and appeal staff and the Transport and Environment
Committee periodically issues advice to boroughs. The ALG does not though

69
Parking enforcement by local authorities: Consideration of representations under the Road Traffic Act
1991, Local Government Ombudsmen, December 2004
70
Chief Parking Adjudicator evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005.
71
Adjudicators’ Annual Reports 2001-2004

39
have the powers to enforce such advice and it is not automatically accepted
outside London, where authorities develop their own standards individually.

4.91 Finally, many members of the public complain that their representations are not
always dealt with as quickly or as efficiently as they would like. They are often
told of delays in the handling of representations by councils due to lack of
resources.

4.92 This is confirmed by the Chief Adjudicator of the National Parking Adjudication
Service. “We would also comment that our staff report that they are frequently
requested to allow extra time for the production of evidence by councils on the
basis that there are staff shortages or personnel are on holiday etc. In our view
the council should dedicate sufficient resources to dealing with representations
and appeals (and other service requirements of the Parking Enforcement
Scheme) before any surplus on the accounts is allocated to other projects”.72

4.93 Parking enforcement is a public service, although often paid for by a reluctant
customer. In any case it would seem obvious that boroughs should ensure
standards of customer care in the challenge service are the highest possible - as
they should be for any other service provided by a local authority.

4.94 “The Traffic Management Act (2004) proposes that high performing councils
should be able to widen the ring fence of their parking accounts to enable
surpluses to be used for other council projects. We believe that before this
happens there should be standards set for civil traffic enforcement and that
councils should achieve "Beacon" status in these departments before the ring
fence is widened to other projects”.73

4.95 This is good advice, it seems clear to the Committee that implementing these
recommendations would inevitably lead to a better relationship with those
motorists who decide to contest their tickets.

4.96 Councils are obviously aware of the perceptions and frustrations that many
people feel with the parking regime in London and, in many instances, have
begun to respond.

4.97 The Committee heard that: “Part of that burden is on the local authorities to
show that everything we do leading to the ticket is valid and reasonable; the
signage is right, there is no confusion and where possible, we provide adequate
parking so there are short-term bays near shops, etc. I think we are moving in
that direction. We are moving a bit slow and we have moved a bit late, but I
think that is the direction we are moving in”.74

4.98 The Committee would hope that the pace of this process could be accelerated
across London. There is nothing to gain from a situation which allows, as the
Chief Parking Adjudicator said above, the state to impose a penalty on a citizen
without that citizen being fully aware of the reasons for that penalty and having
confidence that the fine is being imposed fairly, efficiently and effectively.

72
The Joint Report of the Parking Adjudicators for England and Wales 2003
http://www.parking-appeals.gov.uk/about/AR0304.pdf
73
The Joint Report of the Parking Adjudicators for England and Wales 2003
74
Steve Hitchins, Leader of Islington Council, evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005

40
Recommendation 9
The Committee understands that neither PATAS nor the ALG have the power to enforce their
advice, guidance or good practice notes on boroughs but would recommend all local
authorities have arrangements in place for carefully considering such advice and feedback and
acting on it if this can improve the challenge process.

Recommendation 10
Boroughs should ensure their “back office” functions are adequately resourced, and should
aim to obtain some quality standards so that this aspect of the system offers the best possible
service to the public.

Recommendation 11
Boroughs should ensure evidence is provided for appeals in a timely manner.

41
5 Impacts on business
5.1 Business fully accepts that there is a need for parking controls in London.
Parking restrictions can help to reduce congestion and can also assist businesses
by ensuring that there is delivery space available and providing a turnover of
parking spaces for customers.75

5.2 However, businesses and trade organisations raise the issue of fines incurred by
delivery drivers and maintenance operators. Parking and deliveries are essential
activities for most businesses, and is an essential part of economic activity.
From the evidence received, business finds the current loading and unloading
facilities inadequate, and feels that the imbalance needs to be rectified.

5.3 “The overall environment for parking is so restrictive that business often cannot
park and make deliveries legally during normal working hours without bearing
steep fines. The current regime for parking, loading and delivering has become a
source of grave concern to business, and is hampering their daily activity. We
need to have a reasonable approach among enforcers, coupled with appropriate
facilities for business”.76

5.4 A number of submissions to the Committee point to the scale of penalties being
incurred by business in London – these include:
x Charges of over £1.5 million per year for members of the Association of
International Couriers and Express Services (AICES);77
x Dealing with penalty charge notices and parking fines costs delivery
operators in London millions of pounds a year;78
x Estimated annual projection of £624,000 p.a. to deal with PCNs and internal
costs;79
x A delivery company is paying £4,000 in parking fines per week adding up to
an annual amount of about £250,000;80
x A company receiving £217,000 of PCNs from Westminster City Council,
£80,000 from Camden, £64,000 from the City and £22,000 from Kensington
& Chelsea;81
x One international delivery company seeing the number of fines increase by
92 per cent between 2002 and 2003, while another incurred fines of
£217,000 in one year from Westminster Council and £130 over the same
period from Manchester Council;82

75
LCCI written evidence
76
CBI written evidence
77
AICES, written evidence
78
Freight Transport Association, written evidence
79
Brewery Logistics Group, written evidence
80
CBI written evidence
81
CBI written evidence
82
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

42
x E.C.S. Metering & Data Services, last year paid parking fines totalling in
excess of £130,000 when undertaking the work for maintaining the
electricity service to London.83

5.5 There is more than just the financial costs of paying PCNs involved. “The
impact on the business may be quantified and considered in terms of cost,
operational inconvenience and also on staff morale. Aside from the sheer cost
of payment of parking fines, we incur losses to productivity with output
frequently restricted by actions such as clamping and removal of our vehicles. A
clamped vehicle often leads to a failed customer appointment, causing customer
dissatisfaction and having a knock on effect on our ability to meet our service
agreements”.84

5.6 AICES points out the potential consequences “Such a steep rise in operating
costs is making it increasingly uneconomic for AICES members to service
businesses based in central London. In the long term, if a solution to this
problem can not be found then our members may be forced to consider options
such as imposing a surcharge on businesses based in the centre of London, an
outcome we all want to avoid”.85

5.7 There are three key factors affecting business: loading and unloading
regulations; parking for customers and health and safety issues.

Loading and unloading regulations


5.8 The Freight Transport Association (FTA) believes that the parking controls
affecting loading and unloading in London are in urgent need of review and
change. The existing high level of fines threatens the capital’s economic
competitiveness.

5.9 Loading restrictions are indicated by yellow 'blips' marked on the kerb. If there
are two blips it means no loading (or waiting) at any time. If there is one blip it
means no loading for a lesser period as indicated on the signs, or time plates.

5.10 Nominally most boroughs operate a 20 minute loading/unloading time for


delivery vehicles when the Parking Attendant should observe loading activity
from unlocked vehicles. These periods of observation vary from borough to
borough.

5.11 Research recently conducted by the FTA demonstrates substantial differences in


the way in which parking controls, with respect to loading and unloading and
observation periods, are enforced in different London boroughs. The
observation periods that are applied are a good example of these variations.86

83
E.C.S. Metering & Data Services written evidence
84
BT Field Service written evidence
85
AICES written evidence
86
The FTA website now lists loading/unloading regulations by borough on its website at:
http://www.fta.co.uk/information/keycampaigns/delivering_london/parking/map.htm

43
Observation period Borough
20 minutes Camden, Richmond, Westminster
10 minutes Corporation of London (under review), Greenwich,
Lewisham, Wandsworth
5 minutes Croydon, Enfield, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow,
Havering, Kingston, Kensington and Chelsea, Redbridge,
Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest
3 minutes Newham
2 minutes Lambeth
No observation period Barnet
Source: FTA written evidence, December 2004

5.12 Organisations have also pointed out the impracticability of leaving vehicles with
valuable contents unlocked, particularly for one person deliveries, and the reality
that deliveries often take more than 20 minutes.

5.13 FTA members have identified a number of differences in the way that parking
controls are enforced by London boroughs, in terms of the detail of the
enforcement system itself, their understanding of freight’s needs and the
amount of enforcement that is carried out. The following examples have been
identified:
x Some boroughs discriminate between liveried and unmarked goods vehicles
although it is common practice for well known companies to use unmarked
vehicles from time to time, for example, to replace one that is out of service;
x Some boroughs treat delivery vehicles in the same way as private cars where
clearly the needs of businesses and their function in making deliveries to
urban areas are different from those of private individuals;
x In a limited number of cases boroughs have shown a willingness to work
with the freight industry to identify solution to problems but the boroughs
display vastly differing attitudes to freight and knowledge of its needs;
x The boroughs apply different interpretations of what constitutes loading
and unloading and the legal basis for many of these definitions is unclear;
x The processes used by the boroughs for challenges (representations and
appeals) vary and companies would like to see more standardisation of
procedures.

5.14 These differences demonstrate what FTA believes is an urgent need for training
of parking attendants and back office staff in the needs of the freight industry
and in greater standardisation of procedures in dealing with businesses.87

5.15 Confusion over the loading and unloading regulations appears to be common.
The Chief Adjudicator told the Committee that the appeals services sees local
authorities saying there must be a delivery note. “Well, of course, if I am
moving furniture into my new house personally I will not have a delivery note.
There are other misunderstandings. The unloading must be observed by the

87
FTA written evidence

44
parking attendant. Well, that is not necessarily so. If I am taking something up
to my seventh floor flat it is quite possible that I will be out of sight for some
little time”.88

5.16 In an effort to clarify the understanding of these regulations the Brewery


Logistics Group, Parcels Forum, NCP and the boroughs of Westminster and
Camden have recently produced a video which is being used for training both
PAs and delivery drivers in the rules surrounding loading and unloading. The
video “Keep it Moving! A film about the challenges of commercial vehicle
parking in a busy city” cost £40,000 to produce and was formally released in
January 2005.

Recommendation 12
Boroughs and contractors should review the training of Parking Attendants so that they fully
understand the laws and regulations about the loading and unloading of vehicles and also their
knowledge of the freight industry’s needs.

Recommendation 13
Boroughs make use of training videos and other innovations and also work with the freight
industry to identify solutions to current delivery problems.

Parking for customers


5.17 Short stay parking is regulated either by having limited stay free parking bays or
by charges. Short stay free parking is difficult to enforce and paid for parking
provides a more effective rationing mechanism while also making enforcement
simpler. For further simplification and to improve customer service, meters are
giving way to pay and display machines and electronic forms of payment such as
mobile phone payments.

5.18 Many traders would like to see lower parking charges yet, as the ALG told us,
research by the London Planning Advisory Committee and in Europe shows that
there is no correlation between parking charges and economic vitality of a
centre. Several cities in Europe have tried to introduce an initial free period of
parking (such as 30 minutes) to encourage retailing. Evidence, here , shows that
this has no impact on economic activity but adds to congestion while cars hunt
for a free parking space.89

5.19 Some trade organisations believe the current parking enforcement policies are
affecting retailers. Many feel that the “over-zealous enforcement” has created
a situation where customers are discouraged from visiting their shops as they are
concerned about receiving a parking ticket, even if they park legally. Many
believe that this has had a significant impact on their business.90

5.20 Other trades’ people point to the problems now encountered following the
introduction of schemes with long hours of control. For those involved in
domestic repair activities the requirement to obtain visitor permits by those who

88
The Chief Parking Adjudicator evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
89
ALG written evidence
90
LCCI written evidence

45
want work undertaken is affecting the amount of work being carried out. In
these cases traders believe shorter hours of control would suffice to deter
commuter parking but allow repair work to be undertaken.

Recommendation 14
There should be regular reviews on the need for short stay parking in shopping areas and
studies should be carried out, both before and after the introduction of controls in shopping
areas, to assess the impact of schemes on local business.

Recommendation 15
Boroughs should ensure the process for obtaining visitor/temporary parking permits is made as
simple as possible so as not to deter the ability of residents to commission activities such as
domestic building or other trades people.

Health and safety


5.21 For the brewing industry there are other factors involved such as complying with
the Health and Safety at Work Act where parking controls apply. A large
number of pubs and other licensed premises are sited on the corners of roads
where there are normally parking restrictions. The Brewery Logistics Group
(BLG) points out the impossibility of parking anywhere but outside a licensed
premises when delivering 118 kg beer barrels as it is impossible to roll barrels
across roads or up kerbs.91

5.22 The industry attempts to make delivery quicker and easier by carefully planning
deliveries in conjunction with known parking restrictions and delivery point
access however the trade believes there should be greater tolerance,
understanding and better communication between it and local authorities. The
BLG recommends attendants are given specific training to get a better
understanding of the needs of businesses and distributors alike.

Recommendation 16
Boroughs should consider conflicts between parking regulations and health and safety
legislation and consider agreed exemptions for industries such as scaffolding and glaziers
vehicles, as Westminster City Council has recently announced, where the health and safety
imperatives have been recognised and prioritised.

Challenge and appeal processes


5.23 Several businesses have informed us that they simply pay fines even when they
know they have not committed an offence, because the appeals process takes
up far too much time and too many resources. Furthermore, there is no
guarantee that the appeal will be successful, so many businesses opt to pay the
reduced fine rather than risk a large penalty should the appeal be unsuccessful.

5.24 With the increase in the number of penalty charge notices being received by
delivery companies the cost of fines has reached a scale that has to be
addressed. Many businesses have therefore appointed special project teams to

91
Brewery Logistics Group written evidence

46
tackle the issue, taking members of staff away from their normal work for long
periods of time or in extreme cases resulting in the appointment of a member of
staff to deal with the problem. For smaller companies with less resource
challenging parking fines is a responsibility that has to be taken on by key
members of the management or senior management team.92

5.25 Evidence the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has received from
businesses indicates a lack of faith in the appeals process.93

Improvements
5.26 The Freight Transport Association has proposed a number of improvements to
the enforcement of deliveries in London including a “London Delivery Disc”
which would:
x Identify those vehicles making legitimate deliveries, enabling parking
attendants to exercise more discretion, providing a relaxation of delivery
restrictions both during the day and out of hours;
x Reduce the administrative burden of red tape that operators delivering into
London currently have to endure;
x Be vehicle specific and only apply to those vehicles covered by an approved
code of practice and a valuable tool in securing efficient and sustainable
distribution of London;

5.27 In order to benefit from the delivery disc provisions business, TfL and the
boroughs would have to agree the best practices and standards that companies
would have to adopt in order to qualify and the way in which this system would
be enforced.

Recommendation 17
Boroughs should seriously consider the proposals made by the Freight Transport Association
with regard to the “London Delivery Disc” and agree the best practice and standards that
companies would have to adopt in order to qualify for the scheme and the way in which this
system would be enforced.

92
Freight Transport Association written evidence
93
LCCI written evidence

47
6 Other road users

6.1 Other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists groups were
written to for their views on parking enforcement. No evidence was received
from the first two groups, however three submissions were received from the
motorcyclist (powered two wheeler – PTW) lobby.

Powered two wheeler users


6.2 The Mayor’s Transport Strategy notes at Policy 4G.26:
‘Motorcycles, mopeds and scooters can offer quick, relatively low cost private
transport and are more space and fuel efficient than cars, although they can
generate relatively more pollution and noise. In certain locations of high
demand, more motorcycle parking should be provided.’

6.3 This, in conjunction with the White Paper “A new deal for transport”, leads the
PTW lobby to interpret overall policy to encourage a modal shift away from the
car and towards other modes including PTWs.

6.4 However, when it comes to parking PTW vehicles it appears to some that most
boroughs treat PTW’s in the same way as cars, rather than devising polices and
enforcement that suits the type of vehicle.94

6.5 There are a number of issues specifically affecting PWT parking in London. The
British Motorcyclists Federation believes:
x The current system does not seem to take into account the level of
obstruction (of PTWs) or danger caused to other road users, and as such is
perceived to be unfair by many PTW users;
x Although there is unofficial but useful information on parking for PTWs
available on the internet it is felt that the regulations on PTWs parking differ
too much from borough to borough and there is little on-street information
available;
x There is a shortage of parking bays particularly in central London. 5-7 PTWs
can fit into a car sized bay, and where there is an excess of car bays it would
be a better use of space to convert some to PTW bays. 95

Consistent regulations
6.6 As suggested above, there is a belief that the rules on PTW parking need to be
clarified. The Motorcycle Action Group calls for motorcycles to be able to park
free of charge in residents’ bays throughout Greater London. At present there is
a patchwork of different policies. In Islington, for example, motorcycles either
need a permit or should be parked in dedicated motorcycle bays (which are
often poorly located with respect to local amenities). In neighbouring Hackney,
by contrast, motorcycles can park free of charge in residents’ bays.96

94
Laura Willoughby written evidence
95
British Motorcyclists Federation London Region written evidence
96
Motorcycle Action Group written evidence

48
6.7 The PTW lobby believes that the one area of change that would begin to solve
most issues around parking enforcement would be to allow PTWs to park for
free in every borough.

Pay and display


6.8 The Committee was told that pay and display for PTWs is not a particularly
practical option. Despite providing proof of purchase, the onus is on the bike
owner to prove it was displayed properly, if it is stolen or blows off then PTW
owners are liable for a PCN. Some boroughs, such as Camden and Islington,
provide reminder slips as “proof of purchase” for pay and display tickets, other
boroughs do not.

6.9 Producing a reminder note as proof of purchase may not be acceptable to


councils as this cannot prove the ticket was correctly displayed. Issues around
where to display and conflicting advice in this area apply in the same way as
with resident’s permits.97

6.10 Advice varies on where to display the permit – this can vary between Parking
Attendants, as well as boroughs. Some boroughs provide permits in the right
size to fit a tax disc or accept photocopies. There is no standard secure place to
affix a permit and many PTW users get tickets for non-display because a warden
has missed the ticket or the warden has been told to only accept one spot on a
bike as the acceptable place to display a permit. All of the points above also
apply to visitor parking.

Blue badge holders


6.11 The Committee received a number of submissions from members of the public
with concerns surrounding the issue of Blue Badge parking for disabled drivers
and receiving tickets when normal exemptions should apply.

6.12 The Blue Badge Scheme (formerly Orange) provides a national arrangement of
parking concessions for some disabled people. It allows badge holders to park
on the streets closer to their destination.

6.13 In July 2002 we published a report called “Access Denied?” which looked at
access to parking in Central London for people with mobility problems.98 The
Committee heard that parking concessions offered under the national disabled
parking badge scheme (the Blue Badge) do not apply within Central London.
Instead each of the central boroughs and Transport for London operate separate
disabled parking schemes. As a result, a visit to the West End or City for
London’s 215,000 Blue Badge holders can be frustrating, confusing and often
result in parking fines.

6.14 The report recommend significant improvements in the guidance given to the
boroughs about parking accessibility, the enforcement of existing disabled bays,
the amount of information provided about concessions in Central London and
the level of consistency between the parking schemes within each central
borough.

97
Laura Willoughby written evidence
98
http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport/access_denied.pdf

49
6.15 In November 2003 the recommendations made in that report were followed up
and reported.99 The Committee heard from the London boroughs, ALG and TfL
that substantial progress has been made in implementing these
recommendations.

6.16 For instance, the London Borough of Camden, City of Westminster, Royal
Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Corporation of London agreed to
harmonise their schemes to make it easier and less confusing for disabled drivers
to park in central London. This includes: at least three hours parking on all Blue
Badge bays in Central London; an additional one hour free parking on pay and
display areas after the expiry of the paid time; and permission to park for up to
20 minutes on yellow lines for dropping off and picking up goods and
passengers.

6.17 Separately, but shortly after we published our first report, the Disabled Persons
Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC, the Government's statutory advisers on
the transport needs of disabled people), made a number of recommendations to
Government on the future shape of the Blue Badge Scheme.

6.18 The majority of the recommendations have been accepted by the Department of
Transport but both primary and secondary legislation are needed to take
recommendations forward. Many of the DPTAC recommendations require the
formulation of comprehensive guidance for the local authorities who administer
the Scheme to follow.

6.19 Work is still ongoing, and once this revised guidance is published the Committee
will review the need to further investigate the issue of Blue Badge parking in
London.

99
http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport/access_improved.pdf

50
7 Parking Attendants
7.1 This section deals with those who have to enforce parking regulations on the
street – the parking attendants themselves – the training and instructions they
receive and also the growing issues surrounding the attendants’ safety and
security.

Development of training standards


7.2 Training for all involved with parking enforcement is essential. At the outset of
decriminalisation in 1994, the then Parking Committee for London100 (PCfL) set
up a certification scheme for attendants and supervisors. This scheme, which
measured competencies, was based on three elements:
x Core training;
x Local training;
x Probationary period.

7.3 The ALG told us that this core training was a set standard covering all common
aspects of enforcement. Local training took account of matters that varied from
one authority to another. The probationary period was 6 months, during which
new attendants had to demonstrate that they applied their training correctly.

7.4 Training was given under employers’ own arrangements by approved training
deliverers. External verifiers confirmed that the required training was given and
that the attendants had the required competencies. Once the probationary
period had been successfully completed, a certificate with a two year life was
awarded, demonstrating that the attendant had successfully completed all
aspects of training for that authority. Verifiers also confirmed that sufficient
refresher training had been given for a renewal certificate. Almost all attendants
in London, at the time, possessed these PCfL certificates.

7.5 In the late 1990s, this certification scheme was translated into a National
Vocational Qualification (NVQ). This was to get further external verification of
the quality of the scheme. However, the ALG believes the NVQ is less
satisfactory in a number of ways:
x There is no time limit for a candidate to achieve the qualification;
x Once awarded there is no time limit on the qualification;
x The qualification is not specific to any authority;
x Unlike the PCfL certificate, the NVQ fee does not provide any incentive for
employers to ensure that their employees achieve the qualification.101

7.6 Accordingly, with the British Parking Association the ALG are working to revert
to a certification scheme which acts, in effect as a licence to practise. This will
also apply to back office staff. This new certification process will require PAs to
have a lot more knowledge of, not just how to deal with the public and how to

100
ALG TEC’s predecessor as the statutory joint committee set up under the terms of the Road Traffic Act
1991
101
ALG written evidence

51
explain to them the rules and regulations, but also what they can do about the
process of challenging a ticket. The BPA hopes this will be taken up throughout
the contractors operating in London and possibly incorporated into the
statutory guidance as a licence to practise.102

Current practice
7.7 The Committee received written evidence from two of the parking contractors
operating on-street parking enforcement in London, NCP and Central Parking
System (CPS).

NCP training policy


7.8 NCP attendants undergo a week-long classroom-based training programme (a
two week course in the case of Westminster) covering:
x Road Traffic Act parking enforcement regulations;
x Quality standards of operation and;
x Customer service.

7.9 All attendants are then required to pass a written exam before being allowed to
start work on street. Further training and development takes place on job with
coaching and supervision provided by experienced colleagues and supervisors.
Staff must be accompanied on street until their supervisor is satisfied that they
are fully competent and able to operate alone. All staff undergo a three month
probationary period. NCP aim to ensure a stable and experienced workforce.

7.10 To support further the development of supervisors and staff, NCP has created a
partnership with the Association of Colleges (AOC), to run locally a set of City
&Guilds validated training programmes supported by bespoke training
materials, workbooks and assessment processes.

7.11 NCP offers two different level 2 NVQ qualifications. Supervisors are able to
develop their team leading and managing business operations skills to achieve
the NVQ level 2 in Team Leading. Following induction their on street PA staff
are encouraged to achieve the NVQ Level 2 in Controlling Parking Areas.103

7.12 All of NCP Parking Attendants receive daily and weekly briefings to ensure that
there is consistency in the way they operate and that rules and regulations are
followed.

7.13 NCP favours clear regulations drafted so that PAs can apply the rules fairly to
all. Among the directions given to the PAs are that the rules should be applied
in the same manner at all times, but that if they are unsure about application of
the rules they should take instruction from supervisors via their radios.104

102
BPA evidentiary hearing 13 January 2005
103
NCP written evidence
104
NCP written evidence

52
CPS training policy
7.14 CPS provides training which is accredited and quality assured. CPS staff receive
a 2 week induction course which apart from the specifics of their role includes;
x Health and safety;
x Customer care;
x Dealing with confrontation;
x Diversity and equal opportunities;
x Personal development.

7.15 All operational staff receive a further 4 weeks on the job training in conjunction
with an experienced member of staff and thereafter following completion of
their probation period are enrolled for the appropriate NVQ for their position. It
is a CPS requirement that the staff member achieves their NVQ within a
specified period.

7.16 All staff in accordance with CPS Investors in People accreditation have individual
objectives against which they are assessed on a monthly basis.

7.17 All staff receive a Personal Development Plan which is reviewed every six
months. It is company policy to support internal promotions and CPS has
members of staff who have progressed from PAs through to Contract
Managers.105

Common standards and directions given


7.18 The ALG TEC’s predecessor (PCfL) produced a Code of Practice on parking
enforcement in 1993. The Code of Practice covers areas such as policies,
procedures, priorities and notices and provides guidance over a range of issues.
This was updated in 1997 and is being updated again at present.

7.19 The ALG told the Committee that this comprehensive revision is based on the
experienced gained since the first Code of Practice was published. It is just now
being sent out for informal consultation within the boroughs at officer level.
The ALG will be putting it out to wider consultation with members of the public
and publishing it on the website as well as being distributed in other ways.106

7.20 In addition to the Code of Practice, the ALG TEC have produced a parking
attendant’s handbook which details all the contraventions and the various
exemptions to them. This also provides standards for ‘de minimis’ rules on
contraventions. For example, it suggests that for vehicles parked outside the
markings of the bay (offence code 24) there should be at least one wheel wholly
outside the markings of the bay before a PCN is issued. Similarly, for vehicles
parked on the footway, the ‘de minimis’ rule advised is that there should be at
least one wheel wholly on the footway before a PCN is issued.107

105
Central Parking System
106
ALG evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
107
ALG written evidence

53
7.21 In March 2005 Westminster City Council published the equivalent of its own
standards in its “Enforcement Protocol”.108 The aims of this document are:
x To deliver a high quality parking service to all road users in a fair and
consistent manner;
x Ensure there is clarity of the enforcement requirements and policy for all
Parking Service Officers and Parking Attendants;
x To have a single point in which enforcement policy is documented and
can be easily updated when change occurs.

7.22 As was reported at the launch of this set of protocols “In the past we have not
published this document because we were concerned it could be misinterpreted
and cause problems on the street. But we now feel that the most important
thing is for motorists to know where they stand when they are parking and also
to see the kind of efforts we make to ensure enforcement in Westminster is firm
but fair”.109

Recommendation 18
The Committee commends Westminster City Council for the publication of guidance given to
Parking Attendants and believes that this could be successfully transferred to other boroughs
which could publish their own rules, standards and directions so that the motoring public are
clear which regulations apply in the different parts of London.

Discretion
7.23 As set out in paragraph 3.4 above, an important change introduced at the time
of decriminalisation of parking offences was the withholding of much of the
traffic wardens’ discretion from parking attendants. The attendants cannot
cancel a PCN after it has been issued.

7.24 There were a number of reasons for this.


x It would reduce the impact of aggression or corruption on parking
attendants, as they could not be forced to cancel PCNs either by aggressive
drivers or by the offer of money or other inducements;
x It improved consistency as local arrangements for a regular traffic warden to
turn a ‘blind eye’ to certain forms of illegal parking would no longer be
possible;
x It ensured that any arguments about exemptions or mitigation would be
dealt with at the town hall, rather than on the street, where council officers
with specific training could consider the case with more information and
more consistency than could a parking attendant.110

108
http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/EP%20-
%20Publication%20Version%201.1%20March%202005.pdf
109
Evening Standard 30 March 2005
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/londonnews/articles/17581800?source=Evening%20Standard
110
ALG written evidence

54
7.25 Many members of the public in their submissions to the Committee have argued
that attendants should have discretion to, for example, move on a driver rather
than issue a PCN or to ignore very short overstays on parking meters.

7.26 In Manchester parking attendants have been retrained to apply a "test of


reasonableness" before issuing a parking control notice or PCN. This means
they might engage in a discussion with a delivery driver unloading his wares
while parked on a double yellow line before issuing a ticket.

7.27 Stakeholders from across the country are monitoring the progress of this change
of approach towards parking enforcement in Manchester where a new contract
has been drawn up which places equal priority on enforcement, compliance and
quality of service. “If such a radical initiative can work in Manchester, the RAC
Foundation for Motoring believes that it can, and will, work anywhere in the UK
and will be vigorously lobbying the Transport secretary and DfT to rewrite the
Road Traffic Act guidance to incorporate the Manchester principles”.111

7.28 The ALG however, told the Committee that it doubts the effectiveness of
introducing discretion. “There is evidence from Manchester which introduced
quite consciously extra discretion for their attendants on the street. A separate
survey into compliance has been carried out and found that compliance has
fallen dramatically since that change took place. I do not know if that has ever
been published”.112

7.29 There should be a report of the Manchester decision to introduce more


discretion for Parking Attendants and if this has had any impact on the
safety and security of PAs as well as any impact on compliance with the
regulations.

Recommendation 19
The ALG should review the effect of BPA parking contract in the respect of “employing the
right calibre of parking attendants, who are well motivated, well trained and suitably
remunerated” and the effect on the numbers of tickets issued, challenges, appeals and
compliance.

Safety and security


7.30 There is no specific offence of assaulting a parking attendant on duty, although
there are such offences for police officers and traffic wardens. The boroughs
have sought to create such an offence through private legislation, most recently
in 2000, but this has not been accepted by Parliament.113

7.31 Unfortunately the issues surrounding the safety and security of Parking
Attendants have not decreased in London in the ten years since the advent of
decriminalised parking and in some instances have become worse. Being a
Parking Attendant is a difficult and demanding job and there is no such thing as

111
RAC Foundation for Motoring written evidence
112
ALG, evidentiary hearing 10 February 2005
113
ALG written evidence

55
a safe area. Incidents of assault, be it verbal, racial or physical occur as
frequently in affluent areas as in deprived neighbourhoods.114

7.32 The ALG told the Committee that Parking Attendants work in difficult
circumstances, frequently on their own. While the outcome of their work is
beneficial to London, those receiving parking penalties are rarely appreciative of
this and many are abusive. Some resort to violence. Across London the level of
assaults is rising and, on average, more than three parking attendants are
assaulted every day in London. Within this total, attendants have been run over,
have been assaulted by gangs with baseball bats and have been shot at – all
because they issued a parking ticket.115

7.33 The ALG, NCP and CPS fear that attacks on PAs increase in number following
prominent negative coverage in the media about the job they do, with many
articles being biased towards the driver who parked illegally and no mention of
the PA who suffered abuse for merely carrying out their job. The racist element
of many of these attacks continues to be a concern, particularly in Central
London, where a significant number of PAs are black.116

7.34 The greatest danger is complacency on the part of staff and supervisors not
reporting what they consider to be minor incidents because they have become
immune to abuse. Both NCP and CPS record all incidents of verbal and physical
abuse and report them to the Police.

7.35 The ALG believes that response and support from the police has been patchy.
Some police stations are pro-active and police officers and parking attendants
can work closely together. In Kensington & Chelsea, the MPS and the local
authority developed a ‘side by side’ initiative for mutual assistance and support
and this has reduced attacks on attendants substantially.117

7.36 NCP, the MPS and a number of Local Authority clients have recognised the
benefits in working in partnership on this issue. As a consequence NCP is
actively working with them to develop an agreement called ‘Partnership Plus’.
The main aim of the objective is to foster closer working relationships between
the Police and PAs. This will have the added benefits of:
x Ensuring that all assaults on staff, whilst on duty, are considered as
aggravated assaults and will be investigated;
x The MPS carry out joint patrols to raise public awareness;
x Increased intelligence sharing between the Police and the PAs through
attending regular briefings, including focussing on terrorist risks;
x Input from the police on conflict resolution training;
x Joint operations with the police against untaxed and unlicensed vehicles,
including Operation Wendy and Operation Christmas Party.118

114
CPS written evidence
115
ALG written evidence
116
NCP and CPS written evidence
117
ALG written evidence
118
NCP written evidence

56
Risk assessments
7.37 Competent contractors carry out risk assessments on all beats and locations and
weight them for time of the day, evening and night as well as times of the year.
For example some housing estates are more likely to be a source of assault
during the school holidays when there are large gangs of children on the street
during the day.119

7.38 UNISON believes that the contracts themselves can be translated into
potentially unsafe action as contractors seek to comply with the clients wishes at
the expense of staff welfare, security and safety by, for example, implementing
lone working in higher hazard areas, increasing the working hours with no
adequate monitoring of working time and relocation of staff.

7.39 Although all contracts should include an assessment of the contractor’s safety
policy this is often viewed purely as an adornment to the overall contract and is
rarely assessed. This can mean that contractors with good safety policies, and
good staff support – which translate into effective recruitment and retention of
staff - can be prejudiced in bids to run contracts. 120

7.40 UNISON believes that a London Forum for Parking Enforcement could usefully
be used to address concerns on safety and welfare of enforcement staff, and to
highlight to all partners involved the necessity and benefits of good
employment and safety practices that enables all employers to achieve
consistency in this area.

7.41 It is imperative that the safety and security of staff remains the highest priority
and that there is a concerted effort by all involved to protect them and support
them.

Recommendation 20
That boroughs and contractors should review the appropriateness of schemes such as
Kensington and Chelsea’s “side by side” initiative and ensure that risks to Parking Attendants
are reduced by measures such as:
- Recording and reporting all assaults;
- Minimising the instances of patrolling alone particularly in known trouble spots;
- Encouraging conflict avoidance or resolution training for all staff;
- Regularly reviewing risk assessments.

119
CPS written evidence
120
UNISON written evidence

57
8 Conclusions
8.1 The Committee accepts, along with the vast majority of Londoners, that parking
controls and their enforcement are vital to the economic and social well being of
the capital. However the starting point of this scrutiny was to examine whether
the right balance has been arrived at between the need for these controls and,
at the same time, ensuring that the process is operating both fairly and
effectively.

8.2 Public perception of how the system is operating is critical to its success. But in
recent years there has been a growing amount of negative publicity about
parking enforcement in the media, which has gone some way to damage
confidence in the system.

8.3 Negative publicity has been compounded by the fact that the regulations allow
local authorities to keep the receipts from parking enforcement and now allows
them, in certain circumstances, to spend this money how they wish without the
restrictions which have until now existed. “This increases the possibility that
people will perceive the system as a cash cow for hard-up authorities, rather
than a tool for fair enforcement”.121

8.4 As we have set out in this report, we have seen no explicit evidence that
boroughs are deliberately using parking enforcement in order to raise revenue.
However we understand how the rise in the number of tickets issued,
consequent surpluses made on parking accounts and the media reports of
“fraudulent tickets” and “over zealous” enforcement lead many members of the
public to view the current regime as an exercise in revenue generation.

8.5 We were assured in the strongest terms by the ALG that revenue generation is
illegal under the regulations and were unable to find explicit evidence pointing
to this. However the Committee urges boroughs work hard to convince the
public the system is equitable, proportionate and driven by clear and transparent
standards.

8.6 There are some who are of the view that regulations are there to be observed
and any transgressions need to be punished. But there appears to be an
emerging view that penalising all motorists in the same way, whether they have
made a clear statement of intent to flout regulations or whether people have
tried to comply, but have fallen foul through lack of knowledge or confusion, is
probably not the best way to garner support for parking controls. We would
welcome any moves to address the current lack of discretion in the system.

8.7 Of course awareness raising will go some considerable way in reducing any
confusion, and this is why we welcome the publication of any standards,
guidance or directions given to those enforcing regulations.

8.8 It is evident that the boroughs are recognising that there is an issue of public
confidence in the system and it is in their interest to demonstrate that
everything they do leading to a ticket is valid, proportionate and fair. Boroughs

121
The New Enforcers, Local authorities and the penalty notice system. Fellows’ Associates, December
2004

58
are slowly moving in that direction, we agree that they are moving a bit slowly
and have moved a bit late, but generally that is the direction they are moving in.

8.9 The Committee hopes that this pace of progress can be accelerated across
London. There is nothing to gain from a system which allows authorities to
impose a penalty on a citizen without that citizen being fully aware of the
reasons for that penalty and having absolute confidence that the fine is being
imposed fairly, efficiently and transparently.

59
Recommendations
Recommendation 1
The Committee recommends that PATAS makes the reasons for the changes in the rate
and type of appeals it is receiving known to key stakeholders including the boroughs
and London Assembly. It would be helpful to Londoners for PATAS to include an
assessment of these trends in its next Annual Report.

Recommendation 2
We recommend that the ALG produce an early report on the results of the Hackney trial
of the BPA “new model contract” in terms of compliance, representations, cancelled
tickets, appeals and any impact on Parking Attendant safety and security with a view to
embedding good practice in new forms of parking contracts.

Recommendation 3
Work should be undertaken by the ALG, BPA and contractors on assessing the
effectiveness of parking regulations in improving compliance, particularly to understand
why compliance seems to be happening in some boroughs and not in others.

Recommendation 4
We recommend that the ALG produce a report on differential charging options, which
better reflects the varying degrees of parking infringements. This could support a more
sensitive system and increase public acceptance of parking charges.

Recommendation 5
Boroughs need to enhance the evidence made available to the public when issuing
penalty notices to improve public confidence in the enforcement system. The
Committee recommends that the ALG, boroughs and contractors implement a range of
technological advances which ensure tickets are issued correctly to leave people without
doubt they have been, such as:
- Issuing digital photographs showing the offence with tickets;
- Issuing digital photographs showing tickets have been affixed to the vehicle;
- Using hand held computers which cannot issue tickets before a mandatory
observation period has expired.

Recommendation 6
Boroughs and contractors should investigate all allegations of “fraudulently” issued
tickets and ensure that disciplinary action ensues if allegations are proven to be true.

Recommendation 7
The Committee commends reciprocal arrangements as set out in paragraph 4.80 as
good practice, and recommends that boroughs ensure that boundary signs are made as
clear as possible, particularly in roads which run along borough boundaries.

60
Recommendation 8
There should be regular reviews of the effectiveness of signage at ticket “hot spots” to
assess whether more can be done to reduce any confusion which results in tickets being
issued when motorists are trying to park legally.

Recommendation 9
The Committee understands that neither PATAS nor the ALG have the power to enforce
their advice, guidance or good practice notes on boroughs but would recommend all
local authorities have arrangements in place for carefully considering such advice and
feedback and acting on it if this can improve the challenge process.

Recommendation 10
Boroughs should ensure their “back office” functions are adequately resourced, and
should aim to obtain some quality standards so that this aspect of the system offers the
best possible service to the public.

Recommendation 11
Boroughs should ensure evidence is provided for appeals in a timely manner.

Recommendation 12
Boroughs and contractors should review the training of Parking Attendants so that they
fully understand the laws and regulations about the loading and unloading of vehicles
and also their knowledge of the freight industry’s needs.

Recommendation 13
Boroughs make use of training videos and other innovations and also work with the
freight industry to identify solutions to current delivery problems.

Recommendation 14
There should be regular reviews on the need for short stay parking in shopping areas
and studies should be carried out, both before and after the introduction of controls in
shopping areas, to assess the impact of schemes on local business.

Recommendation 15
Boroughs should ensure the process for obtaining visitor/temporary parking permits is
made as simple as possible so as not to deter the ability of residents to commission
activities such as domestic building or other trades people.

Recommendation 16
Boroughs should consider conflicts between parking regulations and health and safety
legislation and consider agreed exemptions for industries such as scaffolding and
glaziers vehicles, as Westminster City Council has recently announced, where the health
and safety imperatives have been recognised and prioritised.

Recommendation 17
Boroughs should seriously consider the proposals made by the Freight Transport
Association with regard to the “London Delivery Disc” and agree the best practice and

61
standards that companies would have to adopt in order to qualify for the scheme and
the way in which this system would be enforced.

Recommendation 18
The Committee commends Westminster City Council for the publication of guidance
given to Parking Attendants and believes that this could be successfully transferred to
other boroughs which could publish their own rules, standards and directions so that
the motoring public are clear which regulations apply in the different parts of London.

Recommendation 19
The ALG should review the effect of BPA parking contract in the respect of “employing
the right calibre of parking attendants, who are well motivated, well trained and suitably
remunerated” and the effect on the numbers of tickets issued, challenges, appeals and
compliance.

Recommendation 20
That boroughs and contractors should review the appropriateness of schemes such as
Kensington and Chelsea’s “side by side” initiative and ensure that risks to Parking
Attendants are reduced by measures such as:
- Recording and reporting all assaults;
- Minimising the instances of patrolling alone particularly in known trouble
spots;
- Encouraging conflict avoidance or resolution training for all staff;
- Regularly reviewing risk assessments.

62
Appendix 1
Penalty Charge Notices show a contravention code and a description of the offence on
the front. These codes and descriptions are given below, with further information about
the contravention.

Code Explanation
Parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours. Parked on a yellow line or in a street where
01 there is a temporary waiting restriction.
Parked or loading/unloading in a restricted street where waiting and loading/unloading
02 restrictions are in force. Parked where there is a yellow line and yellow markings on the kerb.
Parked in a meter bay when penalty time is indicated. You must move your car before the time
04 purchased has expired.
Parked after the expiry of paid for time at a pay and display bay. You must move your car before
05 the pay and display ticket expires.
Parked without clearly displaying a valid pay and display ticket. The pay and display ticket must
06 be clearly displayed on the windscreen.
Parked with payment made to extend the stay beyond the initial time ('meter feeding'). You may
07 not pay extra money into a meter/pay and display machine to extend the time you have already
purchased - even if this does not take you past the maximum time allowed at that parking place.
Parked in a resident parking space without clearly displaying a valid resident parking permit. A
15 resident permit must be clearly displayed on the windscreen.
Parked in a permit space without displaying a valid permit. The appropriate permit for that space
16 must be clearly displayed on the windscreen.
20 Parked in a loading gap marked by a yellow line. This is a yellow line between two parking spaces.
Parked in a suspended bay/space or part of bay/space. A suspension is marked by a yellow
21 triangular sign, which gives details of the date/time and area suspended.
Re-parked in the same parking place within one hour of leaving. You must not return to the same
22 parking place within a specified period of leaving it - details will be shown on the sign or meter.
Parked in a parking place or area not designated for that class of vehicle. Only certain vehicles
23 may park in some places - this will be shown on the sign.
Not parked correctly within the markings of the bay or space. All the wheels must all be within
24 the parking space.
Parked in a loading place during restricted hours without loading. Loading places are for loading
25 and unloading only.
Vehicle parked more than 50cm from the kerb and not within a designated parking place. You
26 may not 'double park'. This applies even if there is no other vehicle present.
Parked for longer than permitted. This applies in a free parking space with a restriction on the
30 length of stay.
34 Vehicle seen contravening bus lane. You may not park or drive in a bus lane.
Parked in a designated disabled person's parking place without clearly displaying a valid disabled
40 person's badge. Only orange/blue badge holders may park in a disabled person's space.
Parked on a taxi rank. Only a taxi may park on a taxi rank. You may not park, even to pick up
45 someone.
47 Parked on a restricted bus stop/stand. You may not park at a bus stop or stand.
48 Stopped in a restricted area outside a school. This is shown by yellow zig-zag markings. You may

63
not stop there for any reason.
A commercial vehicle parked in a restricted street in contravention of the overnight waiting ban.
55 No commercial vehicle over 5 tonnes in weight may park overnight in London streets.
HGV parked with one or more wheels on any part of an urban road other than a carriageway
61 (HGV footway parking) You may not park with any part of an HGV on the pavement.
Parked with one or more wheels on any part of an urban road other than a carriageway (footway
62 parking). You may not park with any part of your car on the pavement.
Parked after expiry of time paid for in a Pay and Display car park. You must move your car before
82 the pay and display ticket expires.
Parked in a Pay and Display car park without clearly displaying a valid pay and display ticket. The
83 pay and display ticket must be clearly displayed in the windscreen.
Stopped on a pedestrian crossing and/or crossing area marked by zig-zags. You must not stop on
99
a pedestrian crossing or in the white zig-zag area.

64
Appendix 2: PCN Volumes by borough

Local Authority PCN PCN PCN PCN PCN


volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes
99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04

Barking & Dagenham 20452 22574 22,865 34,823 38038


Barnet 100549 87165 88,000 150,181 211464
Bexley 69825 69529 66,630 66,773 77581
Brent 85925 96149 113,126 113,179 124,899
Bromley 62306 65385 75,008 75,806 72281
Camden 316638 303332 426,617 441,062 467683
City of London 91434 93142 94,947 78,665 59015
Croydon 111751 140515 174,638 141,348 121,230
Ealing 119640 185704 183,730 222,545 223510
Enfield 75775 89650 113,538 122,769 174656
Greenwich 64637 62021 68,042 62,779 58350
Hackney 86548 89401 139,080 165,428 149715
Hammersmith & Fulham 145446 142886 181,402 196,810 217663
Haringey 121040 142484 163,217 172,755 211097
Harrow 82145 98771 95,660 104,519 93658
Havering 39000 45905 56,187 47,735 43882
Hillingdon 59773 66630 66,900 66,629 60292
Hounslow 91871 85732 79,841 76,689 83183
Islington 110825 132859 126,756 206,518 286174
Kensington & Chelsea 240077 233238 303,151 293,596 291445
Kingston upon Thames 62844 72837 56,658 75,069 81471
Lambeth 119454 128562 197,930 160,835 245027
Lewisham 51785 52737 69,446 51,963 50387
Merton 33876 35197 39,088 37,176 44301
Newham 97642 128471 143,769 198,096 243617
Redbridge 66020 80094 93,159 92,505 97109
Richmond 95831 84075 89,714 100,001 85009
Southwark 145135 131808 145,854 160,024 162,810
Sutton 44445 42459 61,540 51,003 52281
Tower Hamlets 111062 93214 84,938 78,767 74217
Waltham Forest 110326 120696 121,153 121,983 139572
Wandsworth 135005 181918 250,061 244,877 235365
Westminster 897467 857814 909,792 976,476 1,051,798
Transport for London 246,200 307706

Total PCNs 4,066,549 4,262,954 4,902,437 5,435,584 5,936,486

Source: ALG written evidence

65
Appendix 3: Removal and clamp data
Removals volumes volumes volumes volumes volumes
1999/2000 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04

Brent 3071 3935 4328 4659 4788


Bromley 0 39 93 21 23
Camden 9049 8239 7452 10371 9456
City of London 2082 1849 492 703 672
Croydon 6972 3852 4072 4785 510
Enfield 1550 1535 1617 1462 1124
Greenwich 1058 2623 0 0 0
Hackney 1159 1460 1076 1212 1743
Hammersmith & Fulham 3188 3071 3318 2874 2869
Haringey 166 461 342 631 205
Havering 0 0 0 0 0
Islington 2934
Kensington & Chelsea 9795 8494 10971 10447 9704
Lambeth 5018 6330 8221 8137 7685
Newham 1838 756 0 0 2510
Southwark 3236 2175 2216 3402 3721
Sutton 28 79 0 0 0
Tower Hamlets 1350 2898 451 0 3842
Waltham Forest 50 98 104 34 1431
Wandsworth 5480 2354 5693 6229 2037
Westminster 16366 16594 15455 18117 20508

Clamps
Camden 22358 22328 20473 32234 29554
City of London 2336 2168 624 3266 2130
Croydon 1341 1544 1452 1389 4713
Enfield 0 0 0 0 0
Greenwich 780 2215 0 0 0
Hackney 6439 7583 7104 9617 13033
Haringey 12 2 3 0 0
Havering 0 0 0 0 0
Islington 10919
Kensington & Chelsea 18049 15014 16171 15762 15654
Lambeth 4789 5672 6717 6946
Newham 1675 1334 0 0 0
Southwark 6013 5339 4517 5464 5863
Tower Hamlets 1441 3819 1185 0 7263
Waltham Forest 4432
Westminster 24633 24498 30070 27862 45384

Total clamped 85,077 90,633 87,271 102,311 145,891


Total removed 71,456 66,842 65,901 73,084 75,762

Source: ALG written evidence

66
Appendix 4: Parking account data for 2002/03
Borough Total Income Expenditure Surplus/Deficit

Barking £1,221,313 £1,756,412 -£535,099


Barnet £5,744,358 £2,372,758 £3,371,600
Bexley £1,819,000 £1,500,000 £319,000
Brent £7,348,557 £5,503,455 £1,845,102
Bromley £2,891,647 £1,878,217 £1,013,430
Camden £29,259,000 £15,980,000 £13,279,000
City of Westminster £64,939,100 £31,484,358 £33,454,742
Corporation of London n/a n/a n/a
Croydon £15,301,875 £12,618,160 £2,683,715
Ealing n/a n/a n/a
Enfield £3,574,596 £2,873,242 £701,354
Greenwich £2,454,935 £2,002,710 £452,225
Hackney £27,242,569 £25,940,993 £1,301,576
Hammersmith & Fulham £18,608,807 £8,942,366 £9,666,442
Haringey £5,367,000 £4,719,000 £648,000
Harrow £3,306,000 £1,375,000 £1,931,000
Havering £1,513,689 £1,125,504 £388,185
Hillingdon £2,524,591 £2,263,695 £260,896
Hounslow £4,026,783 £1,896,407 £2,130,376
Islington £10,700,828 £6,727,774 £3,973,054
Kensington & Chelsea £30,893,103 £14,898,121 £15,994,982
Kingston £2,673,772 £1,607,660 £1,066,112
Lambeth n/a n/a n/a
Lewisham £1,883,000 £1,127,000 £756,000
Merton £2,522,140 £695,396 £1,826,744
Newham £3,823,808 £3,957,723 -£133,915
Redbridge £2,727,000 £1,983,000 £744,000
Richmond Upon Thames £8,720,683 £4,888,950 £3,831,733
Southwark £7,418,544 £5,500,432 £1,918,112
Sutton n/a n/a n/a
Tower Hamlets £8,763,934 £6,399,870 £2,364,064
Waltham Forest £2,936,795 £2,486,759 £450,036
Wandsworth £17,154,000 £10,267,000 £6,887,000
TfL Street Management n/a n/a n/a

Total £297,361,427 £184,771,961 £112,589,466

Source: ALG written evidence

67
Appendix 5: PCN Appeal rates by borough

Parking enforcement statistics 2003/04 – Parking PCNs excluding bus lanes

PCNs Appeals % Rate % Appeals


Allowed
Barking & Dagenham 38,038 349 0.9 65.6
Barnet 181,881 2,927 1.6 51.3
Bexley 61,700 401 0.6 67.3
Brent 116,708 1,346 1.2 51.4
Bromley 65,625 902 1.4 38.0
Camden 446,212 1,863 0.4 39.7
City of London 59,015 475 0.8 48.6
Croydon 96,323 1,417 1.5 26.0
Ealing 168,991 1,827 1.1 87.1
Enfield 169,477 341 0.2 33.4
Greenwich 58,350 478 0.8 47.7
Hackney 149,715 853 0.6 63.7
Hammersmith & Fulham 186,401 1,534 0.8 70.9
Haringey 168,506 829 0.5 101*
Harrow 93,658 805 0.9 39.6
Havering 43,882 687 1.6 54.9
Hillingdon 56,254 789 1.4 67.4
Hounslow 83,183 901 1.1 49.2
Islington 260,888 1957 0.8 66.9
Kensington & Chelsea 291,445 2940 1.0 64.1
Kingston upon Thames 81,471 352 0.4 36.1
Lambeth 184,157 3,954 2.1 67.2
Lewisham 50,387 400 0.8 54.8
Merton 42,262 103 0.2 72.8
Newham 173,180 695 0.4 45.9
Redbridge 97,109 311 0.3 42.1
Richmond 83,198 1,041 1.3 66.8
Southwark 143,194 1,303 0.9 61.5
Sutton 52,281 472 0.9 54.7
Tower Hamlets 74,217 871 1.2 50.1
Waltham Forest 130,471 455 0.3 51.4
Wandsworth 208,902 1,039 0.5 96.2
Westminster 1,051,798 9,663 0.9 54.4

Total PCNs 5,178,879 44,280 0.9 58.4

Note: In 2003/04 more appeals from Haringey were decided than were received

Source: ALG TEC statistics 2003/04

68
Appendix 6: Evidentiary hearings and written evidence

First evidentiary hearing 13th January 2005

Witnesses
Kevin Delaney, Head of Traffic and Road Safety Policy, RAC Foundation for Motoring
Richard Currie, UPS and Vice Chair Association of International Couriers and Express
Services (AICES)
Sharon Dance (Committee Member, Transport Committee, AICES)
Bob Macnaughton, Chief Executive, National Car Parks (NCP)
Alan Clark, Council Member, British Parking Association (BPA)
Lynn Witham, Council Member, BPA

Second evidentiary hearing 10th February 2005

Witnesses
Councillor Philip Portwood, London Borough of Ealing and Association of London
Government Transport and Environment Committee (ALG TEC) Chair
Councillor Daniel Moylan, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and ALG TEC Vice
Chair
Nick Lester, Director of Transport and Environment, ALG
Simon Aldridge, Director, Pulp Faction Recycling
Jeroen Weimar, Director of Transport Policing and Enforcement, TfL
Patrick Troy, Head of Traffic Enforcement, TfL
Martin Wood, Chief Parking Adjudicator, Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS)
Councillor Steve Hitchins, Leader, Islington Council

Written evidence was received from the following organisations or individuals


representing other interested groups

AppealNow.com
Association of British Drivers
Association of International Couriers and Express Services
Association of London Government
Brewery Logistics Group
Bromley Borough Roads Action Group
British Motorcycle Federation
British Parking Association
British Telecom Field Services

69
Central Parking Systems
Confederation of British Industry
ECS Metering and Data Services
Federation of Small Businesses
Food Ferry Co. Ltd.
Freight Transport Association
Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents Association
John Squires
La Fromagerie
Laura Willoughby
Local Freedom
London Borough of Bexley
London Borough of Brent
London Borough of Camden
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Motorcycle Action Group
National Car Parks
Parking and Traffic Appeals Service
RAC Foundation for Motoring
Royal College of Nursing
Simon Aldridge
Transport for London
UNISON

In addition the Committee received letters or e-mail comments on the questions asked
by the investigation from over 400 individual members of the public.

70
Appendix 7: Orders and Translations

How to Order
For further information on this report or to order a copy, please contact Paul Watling,
Scrutiny Manager, on 0207 983 4393 or email at paul.watling@london.gov.uk

See it for Free on our Website


You can also view a copy of the report on the GLA website:
http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport.jsp

Large Print, Braille or Translations


If you, or someone you know, needs a copy of this report in large print or Braille, or a
copy of the summary and main findings in another language, then please call us on 020
7983 4100 or email to assembly.translations@london.gov.uk.

71
City Hall www.london.gov.uk
The Queen’s Walk Enquiries 020 7983 4100
London SE1 2AA Minicom 020 7983 4458 MoL/June05/VL D&P/MT